Designing a LEED Certified Platinum facility that reduces as much carbon emissions as taking 4000 cars off the road
Every company needs a spark. For the Sacramento Municipal District (SMUD), that spark was net-zero energy design. Envisioning a new operations center, SMUD leaders hoped to conserve energy use in their buildings while increasing the energy of their people. This efficient and inspiring campus is that vision realized.
Energy-efficient buildings are a balancing act between energy and people. For SMUD, our design team studied the physical building—and what people actually did inside it. We measured how they used every electrical outlet in their old offices and recommended systems and appliances that helped them reduce power use in the new spaces.
Less light can lead to a bright idea. SMUD’s East Campus Operations Center uses low-wattage lighting that shuts off when people leave a room or when natural light is substantial. Also, special window shades and louvers project daylight into the workspaces while keeping the sun’s heat out.
In optimizing the performance of the systems, our team minimized the need for large energy pulls from the grid, allowing for less photovoltaic panels throughout the campus. We also designed and built horizontal geo-exchange fields, thermal energy storage tanks, maximized natural daylighting, used light reflective concrete, radiant concrete slabs, LED lighting, solar water heater systems, and chilled beams.
Together with Turner, our team of engineers designed the award-winning the $123-million, LEED Certified Platinum project. It is home to 750 employees and provides administration, operations, maintenance, and storage space. The ECOC includes a five-story office building, cafeteria, meeting areas, training rooms, a gym, and storage for over 550 utility vehicles.
The SMUD allows for adaptation to changing needs well into the future. Even better, at the time of completion, campus energy use was 50 to 60 percent lower than required—the annual electricity savings are enough to power 334 homes, and the volume of avoided carbon dioxide emissions is equivalent to taking 4,000 cars off the road.
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