DPR Construction has retrofitted its own Phoenix Regional Office to achieve net-zero energy consumption.
DPR was both the owner and contractor for the renovation project, turning a circa-1972 abandoned retail boutique into an office that produces as much or more energy than it consumes. The building has been certified as a Net-Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute through its Living Building Challenge program. In addition, the building achieved LEED Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council.
DPR says it purposely chose a building that was nearing the end of its intended lifecycle and in an extreme climate to show it was possible to build sustainably in a desert.
The renovated 16,533-sq-foot office includes:
- 87 operable windows working in tandem with the energy monitoring system to open and close based on the relative indoor and outdoor temperatures;
- 87-foot zinc clad solar chimney which creates a convection current to release hot air out of the building while drawing cooler air in;
- Shower towers that act as evaporative coolers by working together with the operable windows and solar chimney to regulate building temperatures;
- Twelve eight-foot Isis Big Ass Fans that enable free air flow within the office;
- 82 strategically positioned Solatubes that nearly eliminate the need for artificial daytime lighting;
- Online building dashboard to track the energy production of its 78.96 kW DC photovoltaic system and energy consumption of the building;
- A “vampire” shut-off switch to thwart any electrical devices – microwaves, cellphone charges, radios – that draw energy from power plugs when there are no occupants in the building.
The retrofit was completed in less than 10 months, with a team that included national design firm SmithGroupJJR and global consulting firm DNV KEMA Energy and Sustainability.