SEF Ribbon Cutting Barry Isett

Landmark “Net Zero” Building Up for 2020 Green Building United Award

Isett is proud to be involved in a landmark project—what is believed to be the Lehigh Valley’s first “net-zero” building and the second such commercially viable office building in the country, according to Lehigh Valley Business (LVB).

At the new headquarters for Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) at 4250 Independence Drive in Schnecksville, Isett provided land development services; landscape architecture; structural and geotechnical engineering; environmental consulting; and construction materials testing. SEF and its partners broke ground on the project in April 2019.

“Net zero” describes a building that produces as much energy as it consumes. John Costlow, SEF’s president, told LVB that the organization’s ultimate goal is to be net positive; the building will produce more energy through solar and thermal panels on its roof. The excess energy would go back into the power grid.

SEF will be using about 3,000 square feet of the 15,000-square-foot building for office space for its nine employees. Another 2,000 square feet will be used as classroom space for people interested in installing alternative energy and energy efficiency. The remaining 10,000 square feet will be leased to other businesses.

Ashley McGraw Architects of Syracuse, New York, said its experts designed the building through a combination of deep site analysis and a facilitated study of SEF’s culture, which resulted in a linear building that faces the sun and is brightly daylit.

TN Ward Co. of Ardmore provided construction services. The project was a finalist for the Green Building United’s 2020 Groundbreaker Awards.

SEF was formed 20 years ago as part of Pennsylvania’s energy deregulation. It handles energy efficiency and alternative energy programs and education in the PPL Electric Utilities territory.