Hanley Wood, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and EMerge Alliance announced they will unveil the world’s first Net Zero Zone at the 2014 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. The conference will take place at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Oct. 22-24.

“Driven by the innovative work of EMerge Alliance and its members, the launch of the new Net Zero Zone will make Greenbuild 2014 the first conference and expo to have exhibition space where booths are fully powered by an on-site microgrid including alternate energy generation, storage, and distribution,” said Lindsay Roberts, show director of Greenbuild. “This is an important step for the trade show industry and sends a strong message to the entire green building movement that hybrid power in buildings is both possible and practical.”

The Net Zero Zone at Greenbuild will focus on three areas:

• The Net Zero Pavilion, a specially designated exhibit area inside the expo hall, powered by the microgrid, showcasing 11 exhibitors in 1,500 sq ft of exhibit space;

• The Net Zero Networking Lounge where sponsor representatives and educational presentations are available to all show attendees;

• And an outdoor demonstration of typical on-site solar electricity generation that is connected directly to in-building hybrid microgrid storage and distribution equipment adjacent to the Net Zero Networking Lounge.

The official launch of the Net Zero Zone will take place Wed., Oct. 22, at 10:30 a.m. in the Net Zero Networking Lounge located on level two of the Morial Convention Center, and all Greenbuild participants are encouraged to attend.

Designed using EMerge Alliance standards for the hybrid use of AC and DC power in buildings, organizers said the Net Zero Zone showcases the efficiency, reliability, and resiliency of hybrid microgrids. These microgrids are systems of local electric power generation, storage, and distribution that can operate either in combination with the local utility grid or in isolation from it. Booths in the Net Zero Zone will demonstrate capability of autonomously operating both on, off, and in combination with the local utility grid.

“The Net Zero Zone illustrates one of the main themes of this year’s conference: resiliency,” said Kate Hurst, director of conferences and events for USGBC. “At USGBC, we can’t think of a better place than New Orleans or a more important venue than the largest sustainable building conference in the world to introduce this evolved approach to electric power.”

According to EMerge Alliance President Brian Patterson, the alliance is on a mission to create a more resilient and sustainable infrastructure for electric power in the same way the internet created such an infrastructure for data, and the Net Zero Zone will give conference attendees a hands-on look at the technology.

“Greenbuild 2014 attendees will find it hard to overlook the significance of seeing their first fully functioning microgrid in the resilient, energetic, and historic city of New Orleans,” said Patterson.

The EMerge Alliance is involved in more than 50 hybrid AC/DC microgrids being tested and demonstrated at key sites around the world, including a Steel Orca data center in Princeton, NJ, the NextEnergy Center research facility in Detroit, and the State of Michigan’s Treasury building in Flint.