kW Engineering | Sustainable Buildings & Energy Efficiency Consulting

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Municipal Carbon Neutral Goals: Decarbonize City Hall

municipal carbon neutral goals

Meeting Local Government Sustainability Goals

The green focused Town of Corte Madera leveraged free municipal decarbonization services from the BayREN Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Technical Assistance Program to work towards its carbon emission reduction goal.


GHG Emissions Reduction


Annual Energy Savings


On-Site Clean Energy

Feasibility Study Sees Future of Lower Carbon Emissions

With technical assistance from BayREN’s ZNE program Corte Madera pursued a feasibility study to help achieve is sustainability goals.

graph decarbonization zero net carbon energy northern california municipal


We delivered a Zero Net Energy / Carbon Feasibility Study Report which recommended potential building upgrades that would provide long term cost, energy and sustainability benefits to Corte Madera’s planned new Town Hall.

Going ZNE

After completing the analysis, we proposed the ZNE upgrade scenario as a cost-effective improvement to the current plan.

This scenario will achieve site zero net energy for the new town hall, which translates to the total projected site energy use being offset by on-site renewable generation.

The ZNE option achieves a 67% reduction in carbon emissions and a 37% reduction in annual energy use compared to the current plan and includes the following:

  • going all-electric for the new expansion and
  • adding insulation to the existing building.


To demonstrate the energy savings between the current plan and ZNE and ZNC upgrades we broke out projected energy use by end use as shown in the graph below.

You can see the energy savings as the difference between the light green bars (energy use for current plan) compared to the darker green bars (ZNE and ZNC) where the ZNE and ZNC upgrade options results in a 37% and 55% reduction in energy use, respectively, compared to the current plan.

Carbon Reduction Options

We investigated three scenarios, analyzing the energy impacts and associated costs of each which included scenarios for:

  • current plan which meets code efficiency requirements, and partial solar PV installation,
  • zero net energy, and
  • zero net carbon.

Building Impacts

We analyzed the energy impacts of the following Town Hall building components:

  • building envelope,
  • lighting,
  • HVAC and
  • other equipment and controls.

ZNE/C study tasks

  • architectural drawing review of the new expansion and other site documents,
  • reviewed plans and community input with Town personnel,
  • developed an energy model using EnergyPlus software with OpenStudio to estimate energy consumption, and
  • calculated the potential for on-site clean solar PV generation.
energyplus energy model solar pv array decarbonization city hall
energy use graph municipal decarbonization buildings zero net carbon znc energy zne city hall renewable energy solar efficiency

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