Largest Net Zero Certified Building Shares Energy-Efficient Features

September 23, 2013

From a vacant eyesore to the largest net zero energy building in the world, this Phoenix facility’s features are remarkable, yet attainable for desert dwellers looking to retrofit their building with more energy-efficient features.

The LEED-NC Platinum facility is the new regional office of DPR Construction, designed by SmithGroupJJR. Features include:

  • An 87-foot solar chimney enables a passive cooling system, releasing hot air out of the building while drawing cooler air in.
  • Nearly 90 operable windows throughout the building work in tandem with the energy monitoring system to open and close based on indoor and outdoor temperatures.
  • 82 solar optical tubular daylighting devices harness light from rooftop domes and bring it into the workspace, nearly eliminating the need for artificial lighting.
  • A “vampire” switch cuts off 90% of plug loads, which would otherwise continue to draw power at night when the building is unoccupied.
  • Four evaporative shower towers direct water-cooled air inside, also helping to regulate building temperatures.
  • A 78.96 kW photovoltaic-covered canopy covers half of the parking lot, generating enough power to offset the building’s annual energy needs (estimated at 135,000 kWh). The solar array moved the building from net-zero to grid-positive last year by generating more than 140,000 kWh.

The facility received official certification as a Net Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute.

To achieve to achieve this certification, a facility must demonstrate a net energy consumption of zero over the span of one year.