digital edition

Frontier Project

Rancho Cucamonga, CA
HMC Architects
LEED for New Construction v 2.2
National Grid’s Corporate Office
Photo © Ryan Beck
Frontier Project


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Gross area: 18,936 ft2

Date completed: November 2009

Profile: The Frontier Project Foundation, a non-profit established by the Cucamonga Valley Water District, constructed the Frontier Project to demonstrate water and energy conservation strategies. The building reduces water consumption by 50 percent and energy usage by 30 percent compared to one that is similarly sized but relies on standard construction practices. The project includes a 14,000-square-foot resource center, demonstration gardens, and an onsite water retention system.

Water-reduction: A drainage swale captures excess surface water and directs it to an underground storage cistern for landscape irrigation.  When the cistern is full, water flows into an underground infiltration pit where it percolates into the local groundwater basin. Pervious paving also allows water to replenish the aquifer.

Energy-saving innovation: A cool tower and two solar chimneys naturally move air through the building without the use of fans. The tower harnesses air and cools it with a highly efficient evaporative cooling system. Metal-paneled solar chimneys generate a stack effect to then pull warm air out of the building. Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) were used instead of standard pour-in-place concrete walls; they are made from Styrofoam, or expanded polystyrene, which acts as a thermal mass on either side of the concrete, increasing energy efficiency and improving air quality. Additionally, 230 solar panels provide 40 percent of the building’s energy, and a north-facing glass wall provides daylighting while the double-paned glass with a low-E coating reduces radiant heat transfer.


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