Net Zero Energy
The Omega Center for Sustainable Living is a net zero energy building. Over the course of a year, it generates more electricity than it consumes. To achieve net zero energy, the OCSL was designed to be extremely efficient with the electricity it generates to power the Eco Machine™, the natural water reclamation system at the heart of the OCSL, as well as the OCSL building itself.
More than 200 photovoltaic solar panels capture energy from the sun at the Omega Center for Sustainable Living. Solar energy, which does not pollute the air or add to the greenhouse effect, supplies 100% of the OCSL's electricity needs. Solar inverters condition the generated electricity for use in the OCSL. That electricity is then sent to the OCSL's energy management center, where a series of meters measures how much electricity has been generated and used. These meters help us learn how we use the energy and how we might better conserve.
If the photovoltaic solar panels generate more electricity than the OCSL can use, the excess is sold to Omega's utility company. When enough solar energy cannot be captured, such as during the evenings and some winter days, the OCSL draws energy from the local power grid. This process is called net metering. On an annual basis, the Omega Center for Sustainable Living supplies more energy to the grid than it uses, establishing it as a net zero energy building.