As society undergoes profound changes in its relationship with electrical power, so does the need to train the professionals who install the technology that delivers and harnesses it.
Contractors and workers who make their living in the electrical trades in California recognized this need and have teamed up to build a new facility that will demonstrate and train practitioners in cutting-edge smart technology.
In August, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local No. 11 and the Los Angeles Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association announced a unique partnership. Describing it as, “the second largest electrical labor union partnership of workers and contractors in the United States,” the two organizations unveiled plans for a training and demonstration program and a facility to house it.
Called “Net Zero Plus,” the partnership combines energy-efficiency practices, new clean-energy technologies, improved grid resiliency and career development. To demonstrate and implement these ideals, the partnership is also behind the new Net Zero Plus Electrical Training Institute (NZP ETI) to be housed in a renovated facility in Los Angeles.
It will provide hands-on training for electrical workers to become what the partnership is calling “total energy solution providers.” They will receive training in such smart-grid technologies and applications as demand response, grid reliability, utility-scale battery storage, advanced building and lighting controls, and plug-load strategies.
The building will be an example of these technologies. Billed as “the country’s largest Net Zero Plus commercial retrofit,” the 142,000-square-foot facility is expected to generate more energy than it consumes. Its efficient building design will include plug-load strategies, data management, operable and dimmable skylights, highly efficient industrial fans, a new roof and wall insulation, LED lighting, an exterior solar shading device, and high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) roofing material.
As if that were not enough, the building will also showcase small commercial to utility-scale operational smart microgrids integrated with advanced electronics, battery storage, solar panels, advanced lighting controls, electric vehicle charging stations and a high efficiency chilled water mechanical system.
The new building is expected to open on Earth Day, April 22, 2015.