You are on page 1of 9


Business 179: Professor Frontczak

By: Christy Pierce
November 2, 2017
Zero Net For A Change

Executive Summary

Many companies today are implementing sustainability initiatives as it is becoming more evident that
for-profit businesses can pursue financial gains and ethical duties simultaneously. Over the years, San Jose
Water Company has shown commitment to the environment through its operations, including the use of
industrial control systems and hybrid vehicles. The company has a great opportunity to advance its
environmental stewardship by retrofitting its main headquarters to achieve zero net energy, enabling the
building to produce enough renewable energy to meet i ts own annual energy consumption requirements.
There are many financial incentives for reducing its carbon footprint, as California has a long-term energy
efficiency strategic plan. The existing SJWC building will be modeled after the IDeAs Z2 ZNE retrofitted
design facility and the General Electrics Nara Park retrofitted building, with assistance from Integral
Group, a San Jose-based contractor. SJWC can be a leader in the community by implementing energy
efficient measures and utilizing renewable energy to lower its operating costs and make zero contribution
to global warming. This can save the company approximately 35% savings in electricity costs annually.


San Jose Water Company is a public utility company that was founded in 1866, offering high-quality water
services to a million people in the San Jose area. The company provides services to operations and
maintenance and strongly values its customers. SJWC ensures it efficiently utilizes energy and water
resources by having industrial control systems, hybrid vehicles, hydro-turbines, and more. The company
received a certification as a Green Business in Santa Clara County and is committed to reducing its carbon
footprint. SJWC cares for the environment and is committed to environmental stewardship. The main
headquarters is located in Downtown San Jose and the company currently has 385 employees. In the
upcoming years, SJWC will continue to look for sustainable solutions and innovative technologies to
support its commitment to the environment and continue to fulfill its mission of providing access to clean

Zero Net For A Change


The worldwide amount of carbon dioxide is the equivalent to the weight of over 95 aircraft carriers, 27
Empire States Buildings, or CO2 produced by driving around the earth 843,512 times (Commercial
Energy). The United States alone is responsible for 4.8 billion pounds of CO2 annually from the
production of electricity, representing the largest share of greenhouse gases, as shown in F igure A (U.S.
Energy). Commercial buildings in particular have a significant impact on the environment, as they will
represent 49% of total U.S. electricity consumption by 2025 (Electricity). Unsustainable sources of
energy contribute to increasing greenhouse gas emissions, in addition to costly electricity bills.
Californias mandate of 50% of existing commercial buildings being retrofit to ZNE by 2030 is an incentive
and an opportunity for the company to pursue (Californias 2030). A s shown in Figure B, there are a few
main sources of energy usage that are areas in which SJWC can improve upon, including lighting, office
equipment, computers, and refrigeration.

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Electricity Usage in U.S. Office

by Sector, 2015 Buildings

Figure A: This graph shows the percentage of Figure B: This pie graph shows the sources
emissions by U.S. Sectors of electricity usage by U.S. office buildings

Zero Net For A Change

Project Description/Assessment of Environmental Impact

San Jose Water Company has the opportunity to implement energy efficiency measures, while producing
sustainable energy with cost-effectiveness in mind. These measures include installing LED lights,
occupancy sensors, and a solar photovoltaic system, in addition to reducing plug load by investing in an
ENERGY STAR rated refrigerator and laptops. This strategy will impact members of the organization as
the measures can improve productivity within the organization overall. Socially, this project contributes
to the triple bottom line as it joins other Bay Area companies in their ZNE pursuit.

From data collected on IDeAs Z2 retrofitted design facility and General Electrics main headquarters in
Nela Park, I was able to accurately estimate the efficiency and cost of the specific energy efficiency
measures. To reduce plug load by approximately 30,000 kWh and energy in applications by 57 percent,
IDeAs replaced administrative computers with laptops and installed an ENERGY STAR rated refrigerator,
along with occupancy sensors that were placed on the monitors to turn off the power to monitors,
speakers and other non-essential peripherals (Fisher).

For energy efficiency in lighting, I modeled it after General Electrics main headquarters in Nela Park. The
company installed 2x2' LED luminaires and went from having 96 fluorescent bulbs to 51 LEDs. Now, the
building uses nearly 23,700 fewer kWhs of electricity a yeara $2,600 savings annually (Old Office).

Assuming SJWC is consuming 70,000 KWhs annually in electricity for the baseline building, I have
estimated reduction in energy efficiency (What is the). Because the companys corporate headquarters is
approximately 8,000 sq ft., I estimated a 25,000 KWh reduction in lighting and a 15,000 KWh reduction in
plug load, combined with the installation of occupancy sensors. The remaining energy is produced by an
on-site 15KW solar photovoltaic system, producing 30,000 KWh annually, as shown in F igure C below.
These energy efficiency measures enable SJWCs corporate headquarters to be a Zero Net Energy building,
posing no environmental harm.

SJWC Zero Net Energy Feasibility

Figure C: This bar graph

shows the feasibility of
Zero Net Energy through
the combination of
energy efficient measures

(KWh=kilowatt hour)

Zero Net For A Change

The estimates in Figure D on the next page show that San Jose Water Company has the opportunity to
save 114,851 pounds of greenhouse gases in just one year. Over the course of 5 years, SJWC can save
approximately 574,255 pounds of gas emissions, further contributing to environmental stewardship.

Figure D: This shows the annual average of pounds of

greenhouse gases that SJWC can save by its ZNE measures.

Cost Analysis

Based off of the IDeas case study and the General Electric building case study, I estimated costs for
products and labor, including what Integral Group is estimated to charge. 60 required 2x2 LED
Luminaires cost $5,000, a building integrated solar photovoltaic system (includes installation costs) is
$20,000 after federal tax rebate and California rebates, occupancy and workplace sensors cost $2,000, 6
Energy-Star Laptops are $2,000, an, Energy-Star Refrigerator costs $500, and Installation Costs for
lighting and sensors costs $10,000. The total cost for the project is $39,500.

SJWCs Return on Investment ($/time)

Figure E: This line graph

shows the accumulated Return on

Zero Net For A Change

As shown in Figure E above, it will take SJWC just under 2 years to make a return on their investment.
The combination of energy efficient measures equate to 35% savings in electricity costs annually based
on the results of the case studies I modeled. In addition, I estimated a 15 KW solar system to save $4,000
annually (Solar Estimate). If these projections hold true, San Jose Water Company can save $15,500
annually, accounting for $77,500 accumulated in 4 years. With these savings, it is clear how the company
is able to benefit from these energy efficiency measures and on-site renewable energy production.

Made To Stick

In the book, Made To Stick authors Chip and Dan Heath reveal six principles of sticky ideas that can
transform the way people think and act, which include simplicity, unexpectedness, concreteness,
credibility, emotions, and stories. I believe that my proposal best encomposses four of the principles.

Authors Chip and Dan discuss the importance of having an essential core to an idea. Throughout my
proposal, I aimed to make the core clear: to increase energy efficiency and reduce ecological footprint.
The Zero Net For A Change Sustainability Project aims to ensure that SJWC advances its environmental
stewardship by achieving ZNE on its main commercial building.

For graphs, I appealed to self-interest by stating How San Jose Water Can, making it personal. I also
included the amount of greenhouse gases that are in the air to make an impact, other than the amount of
electricity buildings use. This can speak to those who feel passionate about the environment.

For credibility, I based all costs and design features off of previously retrofitted ZNE buildings and used
sources such as the Environmental Protection Agency, American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy,
and various utility companies. I also included statistics and statistic comparisons, including the
relationship between energy reduction and greenhouse gases, that are meaningful in terms of the effects
of sustainable energy.

To make my idea unexpected, I included alarming statistics in the first sentence of the Problem section.
For example, I compared the amount of carbon dioxide emissions t o the weight of over 95 aircraft
carriers. Unexpected relationships can make an issue more concrete and clear.

Zero Net For A Change


By 2025, commercial building usage will represent 49% of total U.S. electricity consumption (Electricity).
Unsustainable and inefficient energy sources pose detrimental effects to the environment and heavily
contribute to carbon dioxide emissions. San Jose Water Company has a great opportunity to reduce its
global footprint and increase energy efficiency. This project will affect the SJWCs triple bottom line by
reducing electricity costs, reducing its ecological footprint, and helping advance Californias long-term
energy efficiency strategic plan, while being a model for other Bay Area companies. The combination of
114,851 pounds of greenhouse gases saved this year and a $15,000 annual reduction in electricity costs is
an opportunity I suggest SJWC capitalizes on.

With hundreds of Bay Area buildings achieving ZNE status, Integral Group contracting has experience in
retrofitting buildings and making them achieve a Zero Net Energy status. The contracting group is excited
by the opportunity to work with SJWC and implement this project as it aligns with SJWCs commitment to
environmental stewardship.


To: San Jose Water Company Employees

From: Christy Pierce
Date: November 2, 2017
Subject: Net Zero For A Change Energy Proposal

As some of you may know, various construction companies have been visiting corporate headquarters. I
am excited to announce that SJWC is implementing the Zero Net Energy Project to make a positive impact
on the environment and reduce its electricity costs. In the coming weeks, you will be seeing Integral
Group, a local construction company in charge of the project, walking around the premises of the
corporate building, determining the exact feasibility and design of the retrofitted ZNE project.

Integral Group will verify the final building design by January 15, 2018 and construction will begin on
January 16, 2018. LED light bulbs and occupancy sensors on monitors and in board rooms will be
installed within the first month and the solar PV system, along with new appliances will be installed at a
later date. Thank you in advice for your cooperation throughout this process. I am looking forward to
seeing the long-term results of this project!

If you have any questions or comments regarding this project, please call me at (408) 693-9017 or email
me at

Zero Net For A Change

Works Cited

California's 2030 Climate Commitment. Air Resources Board, 2006.

Commercial Energy Use: Impact on the Environment - Save Energy. S ave Energy Systems, 11 Aug. 2017,

Electricity Customers. EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, 24 Jan. 2017,

merican Council for an Energy

Fisher, Mark, et al. Plug Load Reduction for a Net Zero Energy Building. A

Efficient Economy , 2006.

Old Office New Tricks. General Electric, 2013.


What Is the Average Energy Usage for Businesses?, Make It Cheaper.

ow Much of U.S.
U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis. H

Carbon Dioxide Emissions Are Associated with Electricity Generation? - FAQ - U.S. Energy

Information Administration (EIA),

What Is the Average Energy Usage for Businesses?, Make It Cheaper.

Image Citation
US Emissions By Sector. Center for Climate and Energy Solutions,

Zero Net For A Change

U.S. Building Electricity. Managing Energy Costs In Office Buildings, Madison Gas & Electric Company,