Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days 2016: Exciting day in Silicon Valley


The morning of the second day of the Swiss-US Energy Innovation Days 2016 took place at the zero net energy center (znec) in San Leandro and kicked off with a presentation on building components and design. Byron Benton, the director of znec, introduced the znec concept by showing the substantial energy savings that have been achieved during the renovation of the znec in 2012-13 and resulted in a lowering of the energy use by 75% compared to similar commercial buildings in the US. During the tour through the center, different elements that make it a perfect example of a zero net energy building were shown (e.g. a solar tree that tracks the sun, advanced ligthing system allowing for optimal daylight harvesting, solar tubes for natural lighting, etc.).

The following mini-seminar gave insights into smart communities. San Leandro is an ideal example of a city that transformed within only a few years to a promising testbed for local and clean energy production as well as distribution. We have learned that San Leandro benefited from a public private partnership with OSISoft, a software company focusing on the industrial internet of things. On top of that, ZipPower was introduced to the audience, which can best described as an enabler of the indernet (internet distributed energy network). The talk between the panelists has made it obvious that data ownership and data sharing are critical regulatory issues to be addressed for both the US and Switzerland in order to make virtual power plants possible.

The company presentation at the headquarter of OSISoft in the afternoon was also very insightful, showing the various possibilities  that the OSISoft solutions bring to the energy industry.

Simon Büschi, Diplomatic Advisor Swiss Federal Office of Energy