Sacramento becomes center for zero-energy buildings

Zero-energy buildings, which produce as much energy as they use over the course of a year, appear to be the wave of the future. And the Sacramento area has emerged as an epicenter for the zero-energy push.

Premier Gardens and Carsten Crossings, two Sacramento projects, were key to mainstreaming the zero energy concept in the United States, said Rob Hammon, a principal with ConSol, a Stockton company that provides energy consulting services to builders. Built in 2004, "Premier Gardens was the tipping point, and is now the most studied project in the country," he said.

One of the industry's newest players, San Francisco-based ZETA arrived in Sacramento in September flush with $5 million in venture capital. ZETA reconfigured a cavernous former aircraft hanger last occupied by Details so it could produce ultra-efficient building modules in assembly-line format.

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