What is Net-Zero Energy?
The Imaginarium uses electricity as its only energy source. We measure the net-zero energy performance by comparing all the electricity CONSUMED to all the electricity PRODUCED. On an annual basis, we expect to PRODUCE slightly more electricity than we CONSUME, so our NET ENERGY consumption will be ZERO.
Our energy performance is displayed on the 1st floor 3×3 Video Wall. Our Video Wall is where we show what is happening RIGHT NOW (which updates every 3 minutes), what HAS happened in the last 24 hours, the last month, the last 12 months, and cumulatively since we began monitoring the performance on Nov. 14, 2017. We compare our energy production vs. consumption in kilowatt-hours, which measures our electricity over time.
The Imaginarium is “grid-tied” which means we are connected to the RG&E utility grid through our “NET METER”; when the building demand for electricity is greater than our production at any particular moment, we draw electricity from RG&E to run our building. When our production is greater than our building need, we return electricity to the grid.
Visitors can see the NET METER and our POWER METERS through the mechanical room window. The power meters are connected to all of our electric devices in the building, and they are the source of data for our energy performance.
Our sources of electricity production are our (2) small wind turbines, the (92) rooftop solar panels, and the (21) pieces of electricity-producing exercise equipment in the ECO gym.
Our demand for electricity in the building is lower than a normal building due to a variety of CONSERVATION MEASURES put in place during construction, such as:
- The icynene spray foam insulation (exposed on the ceiling in the ECO gym and in the ceiling/wall intersections on the 1st floor)
- The use of geothermal heating + cooling
- Our “energy recovery unit” (ERV) which retains the heat or cool air and re-uses it in our ventilation system; careful positioning of glass and use of high-performance windows
- 100% LED lighting
- The ECO elevator, which is gravity-powered.