On hand to celebrate the “Grand Opening” of this Zero Net Energy office building project, were not only Sunnyvale’s Mayor Jim Griffith, but the California Energy Commission, city planners, top area architects, engineers, developers, corporate campus owners and related experts. Critically, the design-build team who built it were present to share what they have learned which was the mission. The “Celebrate and Learn” party vibe were apropos to the lively atmosphere and free information exchange on this topical construction specialty; Also notably, a testament to how this refreshing open work space and healthy office environment naturally produce great results from humans. With no air conditioning running on a scorching hot day, celebrants enjoyed the cool space and freely explored and discussed the many variables that make ZNE tick.
Having been down this rocky road-less-traveled a few (five) times, this crew knows this specialty like no other. The “trial by fire” learning curve days are behind them now and the experience shows. Beautifully.
A few sample elements built into this ZNE: Passive cooling by way of operable windows for fresh air, operable skylights for exhaust air and ceiling fans (has mechanical HVAC as back-up); A typical 33,000 sf building would have 100 tons of HVAC – Mathilda has only 40 tons installed; Building envelope is very well insulated with specialized material; Dynamic glass tints during direct exposure; Approx 163 kw of solar power on roof (SunPower PV panels); All systems (windows, fans, skylights, lights, HVAC) fully automated building controls; Sensors monitoring – Air quality, air temp, CO2, humidity, noise, rain, solar heat exposure, daylight, thermal mass, power usage and power generation); Natural Green Living Wall (Habitat Horticulture); Reclaimed wood and concrete salvaged and reused from demo phase. Throw in Big Ass Fans (TM) specialized ceiling fans and Integral Group’s design engineering expertise and the collaborative result is a monumental success for a world clearly short on natural resources.
The California Energy Commission was on hand to underscore the fact that ALL new construction in California will be ZNE – ZCE required by law in 2030.
Hopefully, the world will follow. This is our planet, thus we are all responsible.
Written by: Rebecca Weld
(Pictured: Mayor Griffith, Jackson Thatch, CEC; Kevin Bates, Sharp Development; Ken Huesby, Hillhouse Construction)
Architect: Studio G; Engineer: Integral Group; General Contractor: Hillhouse Construction for Sharp Development.