A proposal to build a massive net-zero energy facility has sparked controversy over its worth as a public investment. The Oregon Sustainability Center would not only be a net-zero energy building–meaning that it produces as much energy as it uses–it would also be water independent.
The goal would be to achieve Living Building Challenge Certification, which requires that a building demonstrate 12 consecutive months of net-zero energy and water use, while using locally sourced, non-toxic materials in its operations.
These cutting edge performance goals highlight some of the most impressive advancements in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies. Unfortunately, they come at a price: the building would cost roughly 3 times the cost of a “traditional commercial building,” turning some public officials and taxpayers into critics.
The Oregon Sustainability Center would be a kind of hub for sustainability related businesses, non-profits, educational programs and government agencies. So is it worth the investment? Sustainable Business Oregon seems to think so.