Indiana’s First Net Zero Energy Building Certification is ‘Revealed’

Green Building

Indiana’s First Net Zero Energy Building Certification is ‘Revealed’

For over half a decade, the Chrisney Branch of the Lincoln Heritage Public Library has touted its intent of producing more electricity than it consumes (a term known as “Net Zero Energy”). However, it has always been difficult to substantiate the claim with stakeholders, patrons, and the general public.

In order to reaffirm its commitment to environmental stewardship, Lincoln Heritage Public Library sought to formalize its claim that the Chrisney Branch is the first net-zero energy building in the State of Indiana. In order to achieve this, the library engaged a third-party to audit the Chrisney Branch Library’s energy performance and confirm that it has reached its goal of Net Zero Energy. The result: last month, the Chrisney Branch became the first building in the state to achieve Net Zero Energy Building Certification (NZEB) through the International Living Future Institute (IFLI).

Today, the Lincoln Heritage Public Library held a plaque dedication ceremony and celebrated the Chrisney Branch’s achievement of NZEB. This came as no small accomplishment for the rural community of less than 500 and yet it embodies the potential of community engagement and a visionary project team (see Community Connection). For Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf, the architecture firm responsible for designing the facility, the Chrisney Branch Library initiated a process of discovery that began almost a decade ago. It prompted our firm to clarify our approach to high-performance projects (see Efficiency: Toward Net-Zero Energy) and dedicate ourselves to a design process grounded in building science and design performance modeling (see In Order to Become Leaders in Energy Modeling, Architects Need to be Building Science Experts).

The lessons continue as the Lincoln Heritage Public Library has opted to engage Browning Day for regular performance monitoring in order to understand how the facility’s energy consumption and production patterns change over time. Moreover, a web-based dashboard provides the public with real-time on-site solar energy production data.


Net Zero Energy Building Certification (NZEB)

Net Zero Energy is a sought-after goal for many buildings around the world. All such buildings rely on exceptional energy conservation and on-site renewable generation to meet all of their heating, cooling and electricity needs. Yet, many buildings that claim to be Net Zero in fact are not; actual Net Zero Energy buildings are still rare. Net Zero Energy Building Certification (NZEB) is the only program in the world that verifies net zero energy building performance. NZEB Certification demonstrates to the public that a project truly achieves its goal of Net Zero Energy.

For more information on NZEB Certification, please visit:

The Chrisney Branch Library. Photograph property of Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf.


First Reveal Building in Indiana

The Chrisney Branch is only the twelfth project in the country – and the first in Indiana – to utilize the Reveal label from ILFI.

The Reveal label communicates the Chrisney Branch’s energy performance in a clear, useful format demonstrating the library’s commitment to energy efficiency. Using the metric of energy use intensity (EUI), the Reveal label may be used to educate stakeholders and patrons alike about the library’s performance.

For more information on the Reveal label, please visit:

The Reveal label for the Chrisney Branch Library. The Reveal label is developed by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).