It's nice to see firms practice what they preach; Electrical and lighting engineering firm IDeAs believes "that we change the world through our sustainable designs, one building at a time" and today are opening their conversion of a dead sixties era bank branch into a net zero energy, zero carbon emission headquarters for the firm. It has a "fully integrated, grid-tied, net-metering, photovoltaic system sized to provide 100% of the net energy requirements, allowing it to make zero contribution to global warming." They call it Z-squared.
They have put together an interactive website for the project where one can look at each of the technologies and interventions in detail- there is a lot of stuff to see under that low-key exterior.
"The goal was to transform a 1960's windowless Bank of America building into a high-performance building. Trained in the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), the design team strove to apply the principals of the three ‘R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle."
" A roof-integrated, grid-tied, net metering photovoltaic system powers this all-electric building. It is sized to deliver 30kW AC for an estimated 56 m Watt-hours per year. If load estimates are correct, this should amount to net 100% of the building’s energy requirements. If the building had been designed as a traditional, rather than high-energy performance building, a roof approximately twice this size would have been necessary. To apply a transportation-industry analogy, you can run a car off a hydrogen fuel-cell battery today – but not a fully loaded SUV. "
Architectural design by EHDD Architecture
* harvesting daylight to reduce electric lighting energy consumption,
* providing outside views for building occupants,
* use of occupancy sensors to turn off lights in unoccupied spaces,
* using high efficiency, (plug in) office equipment and innovative automatic controls to minimize plug loads,
* providing a high efficiency HVAC system featuring radiant heating and cooling in the floors and a ground-source heat pump,
* installing better insulation,
* installing monitoring equipment to gather data on the energy performance of all building systems.
"The IDeAs Z-Squared Design Facility is shaping up to be a great working environment for our team. Particularly due to its self-monitoring system, and areas where construction is left exposed, building exists as a learning lab for young professionals who want to understand how sustainable buildings are constructed and function. Moreover, it’s offered as an inspiration for those involved in commercial building across the country who want to move to more sustainable, energy efficient concepts. " ::IDeAs