Implementation in the Design Process:
Project teams should be aware that there is a distinction between the allowable locations for renewable energy installed to meet the SB 2030 Energy Use Intensity (EUI) targets (discussed as part of the SB 2030 Energy and Carbon Standard), and the allowable installation locations to meet the requirements of Guideline E.2A discussed here. This is due to the different legislation that governs each set of requirements. To fulfill the SB 2030 Energy and Carbon Standard, onsite and on-campus renewable energy installations are considered equivalent. Either location is acceptable, and together they form the first tier in a hierarchy of installation locations that can be used to meet the SB 2030 Energy Standard. However, only renewable energy that is installed on the building site may be used to comply with Guideline E.2A. This guideline requires that two percent of the predicted total project energy consumption (including space heating, water heating, and natural gas consumption) must be met by renewable energy generated onsite.
Furthermore, Guideline E.2B requires that all new projects constructed under the B3 program are “renewable ready,” in support of E.2A. Solar-ready roofs are prioritized, but a solar-ready site may achieve compliance as well under certain circumstances.
Therefore, project teams may find themselves in a scenario where installing or acquiring renewable energy from an on-campus renewable energy system is the most cost-effective way to meet the SB 2030 Energy and Carbon Standard for the building, but an installation on the building’s solar-ready roof or site is still required by the legislation referenced in this guideline. In that case, the project team may decide to provide all of the renewable energy on the building site, or install just enough renewable energy onsite to meet the two-percent requirement, while providing the rest with a campus-based (or even portfolio-based) approach.
Meeting the two-percent renewable energy requirement mandated by this guideline is only necessary if it is found to be cost effective. The cost effectiveness must be determined using the B3 LCOE Calculator. Two options must be investigated using the LCOE calculator to achieve compliance with E.2A: a solar photovoltaic (PV) option, and either a solar hot water or small wind option. Each of these three technologies has its own tab in the LCOE tool. Note that ground source (geothermal) heat pumps, air source heat pumps, and passive solar energy may be desirable for the project, but do not qualify to meet the requirements of E.2A. Also, transpired solar thermal collectors may be evaluated as a second option, but are not supported by the LCOE calculator. If the design team wishes to pursue transpired solar collectors as a second option, please consult the B3 Guidelines Administrators at email@example.com to assist in calculating levelized cost.
During Predesign, the LCOE calculator requires a small number of inputs to perform the levelized cost of energy calculation. These inputs typically include the required yearly energy production (of at least two percent of predicted total project energy use as determined by the SB 2030 Energy Standard Tool (E.1A)) and the yearly average fuel/electricity costs at the site (including any demand charges, delivery charges, surcharges, and fees). All other necessary inputs are generally provided as either defaults or assumptions built into the calculation cells. Input cells with default values should not be adjusted unless there is documented justification. Calculation cells are locked so users cannot inadvertently adjust them.
If in the Predesign phase, the LCOE calculator shows that solar or wind may be cost effective, then project teams must advance to the Design phase calculator. At this phase, the LCOE calculator requires cost inputs from a contractor estimate. Note that for new projects, the additional structural costs for a solar-ready roof should not be included in the cost estimate since solar-ready roofs are required regardless of whether renewable energy is immediately installed. Using the refined costs from the contractor estimate, upload outputs from the Design phase LCOE calculator to the B3 Guidelines Tracking Tool. If the calculator shows that renewable energy is cost effective at this phase, then a renewable energy system capable of providing at least two percent of the building’s projected total energy consumption must be installed. Identification of the installed system will be verified at project closeout.
For renovation projects that are not renovating the roof, the solar-ready roof requirements are considered optional, as is the installation of a renewable energy system to meet the two-percent requirement. However, renovation projects that do require renovation or replacement of the roof will be required to make the roof solar-ready, to the extent made possible by the scope of work. For those projects, the addition of a renewable energy system is still optional but is recommended. A site is required to be made renewable-ready only when a solar-ready rooftop is not viable—determined in coordination with the B3 Guidelines Administrators as discussed above—and the renovation scope significantly impacts the site.
Because photovoltaic system pricing has achieved cost-parity with utility-generated electricity for many systems and throughout most of the state, and because solar-ready roofs are required for most B3 projects, project teams should budget for these expenses for all new construction projects.
Resilient Power Infrastructure
If pursuing recommended guideline E.2F, the project team should consider how the facility could function during a disaster event that disrupts grid electrical supply, above and beyond any code-mandated emergency power systems. When selecting the critical loads that will be supplied during a disaster event, first determine the intent of the facility’s operation and assess which installed systems will be crucial in supporting the operation during a disruption. These may include: heating, cooling, ventilation, in-building transportation, lighting and/or emergency lighting, communications, appliances or equipment, and miscellaneous plug loads for things like charging cell phones. When evaluating disaster scenarios, it is important to consider the needs of vulnerable populations, such as those who may not have the capacity to evacuate or who are dependent on building systems such as refrigeration for medication. The energy demands of the selected loads should be determined by energy modeling, and the resilient power infrastructure should be sized to accommodate these loads for a period of at least three days.
Requirements for Offsite Renewable Energy Purchases:
Offsite renewable energy is not permitted to be used to meet the requirements of E.2A. However, a variety of options including the purchase of RECs are available to meet the E.2 Recommended Guidelines E.2C and E.2D. In order for the offsite renewable energy procurement methods to offset the annual energy consumption of the building, they need to meet the following minimum requirements:
- The building owner shall contract to procure qualifying offsite renewable energy with a term of not less than 10 years.
- RECs and other environmental attributes associated with the procured offsite renewable energy shall be assigned to the building project for the duration of the contract. (Note that this may prohibit renewable energy purchases from most types of community solar gardens as these often separate RECs from produced energy).
- The renewable energy generating source shall be photovoltaic systems, solar thermal power plants, geothermal power plants, and/or wind turbines.
- The offsite renewable energy producer shall maintain transparent accounting that clearly assigns production to the building. Records on power sent to or purchased by the building shall be retained by the building owner.
There may be implications resulting from Minnesota Statute §16B.323, which states in part that, “a project for the construction or major renovation of a state building, after the completion of a cost-benefit analysis, may include installation of solar energy systems of up to 300 kilowatts capacity on, adjacent to, or in proximity to the state building.” Additionally, “The capacity of a solar energy system must be less than 300 kilowatts to the extent necessary to match the electrical load of the building,” and “The cost of the solar energy system must not exceed five percent of the appropriations from the bond proceeds fund for the construction or renovation of the state building.”
Minnesota Statute §16B.326 also states that “when practicable, geothermal and solar thermal heating and cooling systems must be considered when designing, planning, or letting bids for necessary replacement or initial installation of cooling or heating systems in new or existing buildings that are constructed or maintained with state funds. The Predesign review must include a written plan for compliance with this section from a project proposer. For the purposes of this section, ‘solar thermal’ means a flat plate or evacuated tube with a fixed orientation that collects the sun’s radiant energy and transfers it to a storage medium for distribution as energy for heating and cooling.”
This section does not provide a comprehensive list of potentially relevant legislation or the full text of those statues cited. Please reference the Revisor of Statues of the State of Minnesota for full legislation text.
 These requirements are generally aligned with the Architecture 2030 Zero Code for Off-Site Procurement of Renewable Energy