ZNE Program Optimization: decarbonizing the Midwest market – Greenbuild 2020 Session Review


Editorial, “This was a great session to illustrate what can be done with an existing museum. It shows how the Grand Rapids Art Museum reduced their Energy Utilization Index (EUI) 30% from 170 to 119. They are doing it by upgrading the air handling system and better controls. The project we are donating our time to help in Cincinnati is the Zaha Hadid designed Contemporary Art Center. Its EUI is 240. The EUI is the total energy use per year per square foot. Similar to this example we are assembling the energy record for the building from it conception in 2003 to date. The next phase will be to produce an energy model which is like a digital twin. It will allow use to analyze the options we have for improved systems and well as controls. Please get in touch if you would enjoy helping with this project. It’s fun!”

As the largest utility in Michigan, Consumers Energy is progressively leading the charge with clean energy, not just compared to its Midwestern counterparts, but nationwide. To date, Consumers Energy has decommissioned seven of its coal-fired power plants and pledged no coal, 90% carbon reduction, and 56% electric capacity from renewable energy by 2040. This movement brings with it a need to design cost-effective zero net energy (ZNE) buildings locally. For the past three years, DNV GL and Consumers Energy have designed and implemented a ZNE program that is structured to lower the barriers to entry with a roadmap for a clear pathway to ZNE.

In 2017, Consumers Energy launched its ZNE Pilot Program with the following objectives: target key regional decision makers, reduce barriers, ensure market transformation, and prove ZNE buildings are feasible and scalable – even in harsh Midwestern climates. The program is set up in 5 phases (Preliminary Design, Advanced Design, Construction, Measurement, and Verification) with 15 different deliverables (i.e. design charrette, energy modeling, submetering, commissioning, M&V, etc.). It is revolutionary due to its ability to support integrated design from early schematic stages and achieve high performance energy goals as a post-occupancy, measurable target.

During this session, we will discuss the evolution of the program from pilot to a permanent specialty program through lessons learned, customer feedback, program development, the ZNE Guidebook, and ZNE Design Guidelines. We will present on the 11 active new construction and existing building participants with varying use types and sizes, focusing on several informative case studies. And lastly, we will specify how the ZNE process overlaps with the newest up dates in LEED v4.1 in regards to LEED Integrative Process, most Energy and Atmosphere prerequisites and credits, as well as Thermal Comfort, Interior Lighting and Daylight credits.


Understand how a ZNE utility program can optimize a replicable ZNE process for varying building types (schools to museums) through education and market transformation, even in the harsh Michigan climate

Articulate the benefits of each required ZNE deliverable in the program (i.e. design charrette, energy modeling, submetering, commissioning, M&V, etc.), demonstrated by relevant case studies

Implement the integrated design process starting at early stages of design with the ENTIRE project team (from commissioning agent to architect) to ensure long-term ZNE success

Understand how the ZNE process overlaps with the LEED Integrative Process, most Energy and Atmosphere prerequisites and credits, as well as Thermal Comfort, Interior Lighting and Daylight credits



LEED Specific: BD+C, LEED Specific: O+M, LEED Specific: ID+C, LEED Specific: ND


Jessica Mammel
C&I Pilot Program Manager
Consumers Energy

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Annie Koch
Senior Engineer
Annie Koch, PE, LEED AP is a Senior Engineer with DNV GL’s Sustainable Energy Solutions team. She specializes in technical assessments of high-performance and Zero Net Energy (ZNE) buildings and communities. By analyzing these projects through energy modeling, daylight modeling, cost-benefit analyses, and solar feasibility studies, Annie holistically advises on passive sustainability, energy efficient systems, resiliency, PV sizing, electrification, and LEED. As a technical expert in the field, she has written several whitepapers and a ZNE Guidebook. She has provided energy modeling training and reviews whole building design incentive applications for utility programs across the United States. Of note, she has aided in the design and implementation of the award-winning Consumers Energy’s Zero Net Energy Pilot program, provided ZNE technical assistance for multiple BayREN municipal buildings, and created prototypical ZNE models for the Peninsula Advanced Energy Community.

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Eric Doyle
Director of Business Development
Catalyst Partners
Mr. Doyle is an advocate and cheerleader for restorative design and construction practices. He leads Catalyst Partners’ team on performance improvement, wellbeing, and certification for ASHRAE, BREEAM, EGC, ENERGY STAR, LEED, Living Building Challenge (LBC), and WELL projects. He motivates owners and teams to realize their environmental, optimization, and wellness goals. He works to fight climate change one building and multiple perceptions at a time.

He has taught college level sustainable construction courses, facilitated LEED and Green Associate study groups, spoken in depth about the LEED process beginning at Princeton (2007), Greening the Heartland (2008), and multiple other conferences including the AIA Huron Valley 2030 Professional Series (2013), the Michigan Ross – Energy Efficiency in the Residential Sector Conference (2016). He has taught green building concepts to hundreds of professionals throughout the world. As a volunteer in the LBC Ambassador Network, he established a Collaborative in the Great Lakes Region.

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