A high performance building development named Zer0 Place opened its doors to New Paltz on April 12, 2022. Zer0 Place is a net-zero energy building that leaves a miniscule carbon footprint and charges no utility fees for residents.
David Shepler, one of the owners and founders of Zer0 Place, had the idea for a net zero energy building in 2015. He wanted to stretch the limits of building performance and create something sustainable on a large scale.
“I live in a net zero energy home. I had a personal passion for creating very efficient homes,” Shepler said. “I realized that it would be good for us to be able to do this kind of thing for more than just people that have the means and desire to build single family homes.”
“It’s critical that we get people who also want to live in apartments and more dense housing, to be able to live with a low carbon footprint,” he continued. “I thought, ‘I want to see if we can combine the technologies but at a different scale, the technologies that are in my own home, but for a much larger building.’ That’s what the inspiration was.”
Located at 87 N. Chestnut St., the building consists of 46 total rental units. 25 are two-bedroom apartments and 21 are single-bedroom apartments. The building also has over 8,000 square feet of commercial retail space, according to Zer0 Place’s website.
“The ground floor is commercial space and then everything else is residential,” Shepler said. “Three floors above and a few units on the backside of the building on the ground floor.”
All 46 units in the building are occupied, with some of the ground floor commercial space still being open.
“People’s awareness of climate change and the importance of being more efficient in every possible way [helped bring renters and community support],” said Shepler. “People are very aware and interested in participating in that.”
Zer0 Place was a winner of the New York State Buildings of Excellence competition for “the design, construction and operation of carbon neutral-ready multifamily buildings,” as outlined by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority.
Onsite solar power and the high-efficiency mechanical system, which does 100% of the buildings heating and cooling, work together to make sure Zer0 Place has net zero emissions.
The process for building a non-carbon-emitting building was not a quick one. “It took a little over two years to get our approval from the time we submitted our application to when the village approved it,” Shepler recounted. “It was an extraordinarily long time, with many meetings and reviews. Then it took us about two and a half years to build the building.”
After Zer0 Place, Shepler is now looking to bring things back to the smaller scale. “I’m starting a project to build some net zero energy townhomes,” he said. “Nothing of the size of Zer0 Place right now. I’m not looking to do that right away.”