A previously abandoned pornography mega-store recently became the largest net-zero-energy building in the world to be certified by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). At 16,533 square feet, the regional office of DPR Construction in Phoenix was also the first net-zero-energy design spearheaded by SmithGroupJJR.
The firm led the renovation of the windowless (but well insulated) 1970s concrete block building and says it completed the project in less than 10 months.
Now, the building has nearly 90 operable windows, and daylight is drawn into office spaces by 82 solar optical tubes. An 87-foot solar chimney helps keep the building cool in its desert location by releasing hot air from the building, while four evaporative “shower towers” direct water-cooled air inside. A 79kW photovoltaic system shading the parking lot offsets the building’s entire annual energy consumption.
“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,” says Mark Roddy, AIA, SmithGroupJJR design principal, in a press release. “But that’s precisely what we’ve achieved.”
Copyright 2013 by BuildingGreen Inc.