Leading the Way in San Jose

My union brothers in IBEW Local 332 (San Jose, CA) have retrofitted their Union Hall into a lean, green energy machine by adding 600 rooftop solar panels that now generate more power than they consume from the electrical grid. Surplus power will be will be sold back in a process called ‘net zero energy’.

The 200-kilowatt installation will save the union over $140,000 per year in utility bills. An interesting side note is that the gas water heaters in the building were replaced with electric ones, thus helping to reduce carbon emissions.

“The retrofitting also included a building facelift, battery system, electric vehicle charging stations, skylights with transparent Building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) panels and a shade awning made of recycled panels from the building’s original array.

This follows California’s strict targets for new and existing building energy standards in the next decade. By 2020, all new residential buildings are required to meet net-zero-energy requirements. By 2030 the law will also apply to all new commercial buildings and 50 percent of existing ones.

There are few retrofitted net-zero-energy buildings in the world,” said Christopher D. Smith, building developer and alternative energy engineer at NECA and IBEW. “We wanted to show you can do that with current technologies and have it be affordable and cash-flow positive.” [1]

If you have a window seat on the left side of airplane landing in San Jose you can spot the building from the air. Look for the ‘IBEW’ spelled out by the rooftop solar array.



[1] Pacific Ridge Electric Completes Retrofitted Net-Zero-Energy Building in California, Electrical Contractor, by Marlena Chertock, February 2018

C’mon, now. You knew this was coming.

  7 comments for “Leading the Way in San Jose

  1. Mike Cornelius
    March 3, 2018 at 5:16 PM

    The office of the Boston IBEW local is right by the portion of I-93 known as the Southeast Expressway, the main artery running south out of downtown. They have a large wind turbine that is easily the most distinctive feature on that nine mile route.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 3, 2018 at 6:44 PM

      I saw the building back in 2002 when we were in town for the Thanksgiving holiday. Next time that I’m in town I’ll have to stop by and see that wind turbine. Thanks for the heads up, Mike.


  2. March 1, 2018 at 12:34 PM


    Liked by 1 person

  3. March 1, 2018 at 12:18 PM

    Hope we can keep Unions Strong!!👍🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  4. alstacer
    March 1, 2018 at 12:17 PM

    Green is cool. Thanks for sharing.


    • March 1, 2018 at 1:29 PM

      You are quite welcome, Al. Hopefully it catches on with the rest of the populace.


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