The nation’s first zero net energy archive facility is now complete in San Diego County. The property is a 25,000-square-foot, single-story property with zero net energy and LEED Gold certification (pending). The project is part of San Diego County’s aggressive strategic energy plan, which includes energy and water efficiency in new construction buildings. C.W. Driver Cos
. was the contractor on the project, with the Miller Hull Partnership
serving as architect.
“The general goal is to deign a facility and site where the renewable energy production on site meets or exceeds the energy consumption of the site on the building,” Eric Shultz
, project manager at C.W. Driver, tells GlobeSt.com. “It requires continuous energy modeling through the design process and even through the construction process as there are design changes and owner-requested changes. In a design-build model, we need to be constantly looking at the design, but the energy modeling also has to be in alignment with everything else. It is a new element, and a challenge in itself.”
The project was built using a design-build model, and as a result, C.W. Driver was involved in the early stages of the project as well as construction. This helped the County achieve its lofty goals. “We worked closely with the County from the request for proposal phase through the conceptual design phase. We had regular meetings the County to develop the design and all of the different program requirements that the County was looking for. The County had a very clear vision, originating from the California Global Warming Solutions Act, which adopted new measures for all new construction. The County of San Diego approved a strategic energy plan that emphasized all new construction would energy and water efficiency.”
The County of San Diego has been a leader in renewable energy, and earlier delivered the nation’s first zero net energy project. “The first zero net energy project was for the County of San Diego,” says Shultz. “It was the Alpine library project. That was the first zero net energy library in the nation, and this project is the first zero net energy project of its kind as well.”
The model can be easily adapted to other commercial projects, including office buildings. This is the first of several more to come. “The County of San Diego is a leader in the space,” says Shultz. “They are perusing zero net energy on all of their new construction projects. The archive facility is unique in that is requires very stringent climate control for the documents that are being stored for long periods of time.”