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The University of Utah's effort to create the state's first "net zero" building has won federal support in the form of help on a major renovation proposed for the 1970 concrete structure housing the College of Architecture + Planning.

College officials hope to retrofit the 48,000-square-foot building so it produces more energy than it consumes, zeroing out its emissions of carbon dioxide by 2050. That effort garnered a million-dollar boost from the U.S. Department of Energy's Commercial Building Partnership (CBP) program, which seeks to improve the energy efficiency of buildings across the United States.

Stimulus money funds the program, which is designed to showcase innovative building practices and technologies that could help reduce burning of fossil fuels, blamed for the emissions linked to global warming.

The architecture college's renovation aims to cut energy use 80 percent and generate all required energy on-site.

To help reach this goal, the DOE will provide the resources of its national laboratories as well as private sector technical experts from across the country for a period of up to three years, all at no cost to the U.