The new Phoenix regional office of DPR Construction has been officially certified as a "net zero energy" building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). It’s the largest building in the world to achieve net zero energy building certification through the institute to date.
SmithGroupJJR designed the comprehensive renovation of the windowless, 1970s concrete block building, transitioning it into a model for sustainable adaptive reuse. The entire project was completed in less than 10 months and is the first net zero energy building SmithGroupJJR has designed.
Located at the corner of 44th and Van Buren in a once declining area of Phoenix, the 16,533-square-foot storefront had most recently operated as an adult-themed boutique before standing vacant for three years. The eyesore building was purchased by national general contractor and construction manager DPR Construction, which was looking to build a modern and highly efficient workplace.
“Many building owners may think it’s impossible to turn an aging, neglected building into something highly sustainable – especially in an extreme climate like Phoenix," said Mark Roddy, SmithGroupJJR design principal. "But that’s precisely what we’ve achieved.”
Net zero energy facilities integrate a combination of energy-producing technologies such as solar and wind and implement efficient HVAC and lighting systems to reduce a building’s overall energy usage. To achieve the building certification, a facility must demonstrate a net energy consumption of zero over the span of one year.
DPR Construction and SmithGroupJJR incorporated a range of advanced design solutions to achieve net zero energy, including:
Tracking the building’s energy production and consumption in real time is an online building dashboard, prominently displayed in the office’s reception area.
[pagebreak]Inside, SmithGroupJJR attempted to design a “workplace of the future” environment, where employees share a common, open work environment void of enclosed, private offices. On-site amenities include a gym complete with men’s and women’s showers, a "Zen room" for quiet breaks and an 18-foot wine bar. A kitchen with café and two green-screened outside courtyards provide additional breakout venues. Video conferencing rooms, a learning lab, and a glass-walled "innovation room" with whiteboards and reconfigurable furniture encourage collaboration and teamwork. Rolling, glazed, garage-style doors can be raised to join the inside offices with an outside courtyard.
Since its completion in October 2011, DPR has hosted gatherings and meetings for a range of businesses and non-profit organizations. The company shares its building and the lessons that were learned during design and construction with audiences that include professional organizations, public and private programs and school children of all ages.
READ MORE: "If this Phoenix factory is wrong, DIRTT doesn't want to be right" by Brian Back, Sustainable Industries, July 2012
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