Sustainable offices: Silicon Valley tilt-up office gets amazing net zero retrofit
Although energy efficient design has come a long way over the years in terms of major buildings and residences, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the area of everyday rental properties.
RMW Architecture & Interiors recently oversaw a major retrofit that turned one of Silicon Valley’s ubiquitous tilt-up offices into a sustainable model for leased buildings. The project converted an otherwise nondescript mid-sized office space into an incredible ultra-efficient power house that produces 100 percent of its energy needs.
As well as providing for its own energy needs with a rooftop solar array, 435 Indio produces zero carbon emissions. As part of its energy-independent design, the office space uses a solar-powered smart lighting control system that adjusts ambient light at every fixture. During the day, the interior is illuminated with optimal natural light via skylights and manually operable windows.
Passive ventilation strategy is used to regulate the interior temperature along with insulated concrete walls and electrochromatic windows, which respond to sun intensity by transitioning from clear to semi-opaque. Throughout the night, the automated system flushes hot air out windows and skylights.
As the structure is designed to produce all of its own energy needs, the tenants will never have to pay electric bills. Additionally, the strategic use of natural light, fresh air, and community green space enhance the work environment, resulting in healthy, happy, productive employees. The building’s energy use is closely monitored during work hours, and both employees and visitors can view real-time energy use data displayed on a screen in the lobby.
Although buildings with ultra-efficient energy features is nothing new, RMW Architects wanted to use 435 Indio as a model for how leased office space can incorporate sustainable aspects by encouraging tenants and developers to embrace green design strategies.