Ernest Sota on his Journey to Net-Zero with the DCRA and the DCSEU's New Pilot Program

When Ernest Sota embarked on his Net Zero Energy project, it wasn’t his first time incorporating sustainability to a housing project.

When Ernest Sota embarked on his Net Zero Energy project, it wasn’t his first time incorporating sustainability to a housing project. At his company, Sota Construction Services, “sustainable building isn’t a gimmick or a buzzword.” Ernest and Sota Construction have been practicing green building approaches since 1993. Ernest himself has a long history of sustainability and construction dating back to the 1970s where he built a rooftop bio shelter on a townhome he purchased in 1974.

Through the DC Sustainable Energy Utility (DCSEU) and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), Ernest became one of the first participants in a Net Zero pilot program. The program is designed to help projects of all types and sizes meet the achievable and fulfilling goal of going Net Zero.  During the permitting process, select applicants like Ernest can be assigned a Green Ambassador at DCRA to help guide the application and coordinate with ancillary agencies. Once a permit is issued to qualified projects, the DCRA and DCSEU may award up to $10,000 in incentives.

“With Net Zero homes you are more likely to be able to control and treat air quality in the home since the requirements for air tightness allow you to control the source of the incoming air,” says Ernest. “You can treat it and also avoid mold issues that comes with homes that don’t control air infiltration.”

Ernest started his Net Zero energy project in January 2019 and has continued to work with DCRA, the DCSEU, and DOEE along the way. He plans to continue to pursue more Net Zero energy projects. “We’re looking for other opportunities in the District and will pursue the same quality in design and level of sustainability.” DCRA is accepting applicants into the program on a case-by-case basis. For information contact DCRA at green.building@dc.gov.


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Ben Burdick
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