The power of zero: How to a real-world Net-Zero office
Green Biz, March 12, 2016. Image credit: ccr-mag
DPR Construction’s Phoenix Regional Headquarters creates a space that exemplifies deep sustainability in the hot dry climate, on a site that provides revitalization and adaptive reuse.
The office is ILFI Net Zero Energy and LEED Platinum certified. DPR Construction is a technical general contractor building throughout the United States, including the Southwest and California, and is providing an example of world-class caliber net zero leadership through its offices.
DPR’s goal for the Phoenix office was to not only produce more energy on-site than it consumed, but to reimagine the open office environment for over 40 employees with passive and active cooling scenarios, including 87 operable windows, a 87-foot long, 13 feet high, zinc clad solar chimney and a 79 kWh PV solar array on the adjacent parking lot.
The project had a tight timeline of just 10 months to complete the office, which opened in October 2011 at a total cost of $4,571,280, not including soft costs or the site and existing building. This building is an outstanding example of thoughtful, constructor-driven pragmatism that resulted in a highly cost effective, very compelling building with a nuanced approach to achieving net zero energy usage.
Plug loads: Plug loads are a significant factor in daily building electricity use, and several measures were taken to encourage energy conservation.
A “vampire shut-off switch” is connected to about 95 percent of the noncritical systems, or “phantom” outlets, which at end-of-day is controlled by the occupants. This “vampire” switch (a large red button) is popular with the staff, and has resulted in a 37 percent reduction in plug load energy consumption.
A Lucid Building Dashboard monitors the energy generation and usage in real time for the building, providing ongoing feedback to the workers about their net zero energy performance.