IDeAs, Inc. puts these great ideas into practice: no fossil fuels, no carbon emissions
At a Glance
- #1 — IDeAs, Inc.’s headquarters became one of the first net-zero energy/net-zero carbon emissions commercial office buildings in the United States.
- 60% — That’s how much less energy the IDeAs, Inc. headquarters consumes versus a conventional office building complying to ASHRAE 90.1.
- 0 — The amount of carbon emissions produced by the IDeAs Z2 Design Facility headquarters.
The challenge: Create a net-zero energy/net-zero carbon emissions headquarters building
Integrated Design Associates (IDeAs), Inc. in San Jose, California provides electrical engineering, daylighting, and lighting design services, and it helps architects design energy-efficient buildings. What better way to demonstrate its capabilities to prospective clients than to make its own headquarters building so energy-efficient that it generates all the energy it needs, burns no fossil fuels, and produces no carbon emissions? But this wasn’t a brand new building designed and constructed from scratch. Instead, IDeAs, Inc. purchased a windowless, concrete 7,000-square-foot 1960s-vintage former bank branch to be retrofitted as a net-zero energy/net-zero carbon emissions building.
The solution: Integrating efficient, sustainable green technologies
IDeAs, Inc. turned to Johnson Controls for an HVAC system that would minimize the building’s energy consumption, while providing ample comfort and creating a quality work environment for employees. Johnson Controls responded with an innovative geothermal heat pump HVAC and control system. The heat pump takes advantage of the fact that the temperature of the ground around the building a few feet below the surface is a constant 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12 Celsius). Water flows through underground pipes into the building to a heat exchanger; the radiant floor system then uses the water to cool or heat the interior space and does so using less energy than a traditional heat pump or forced-air system. The Johnson Controls Metasys® building management system precisely controls the water flow rate and floor slab temperature for optimal comfort and minimal energy usage. The system also monitors space conditions and automatically activates a ventilation system when necessary to prevent condensation.
Besides the Johnson Controls heat pump, IDeAs, Inc. has implemented a number of technologies from several sources to achieve energy efficiency and zero carbon emissions goals. Solar panels provide 100 percent of the electricity for the building. Strategically placed windows and skylights enable the building to use natural daylight to illuminate the interior and minimize the need for electric lighting. High-efficiency, spectrally sensitive windows let sunlight in but keep heat out. Computers and office equipment are selected for their energy efficiency and, when everyone leaves for the day and the alarm system is activated, that system shuts down specified equipment through a remote-controlled circuit breaker.
Results and benefits
The IDeAs, Inc. headquarters building consumes 60 percent less electricity than a conventional office building of comparable size built to ASHRAE 90.1 specifications, and the efficiency measures taken, as well as the Johnson Controls HVAC system, are major reasons why. The site became one of the first commercial office buildings in the United States to achieve net-zero energy/net-zero carbon emissions goals. Because the building relies solely on renewable solar energy, and no fossil fuels, it produces no carbon emissions. What’s more, the husband and wife owners of IDeAs, Inc. were able to finance the building’s refurbishment with an affordable, conventional bank loan.
Since the system has been operating it has provided a very cool and comfortable environment during some very hot weather. It is a very efficient system that will help us meet our net-zero energy target.
– David Kaneda, Principal, Integrated Design Associates, Inc.
Johnson Controls can help identify and implement office energy efficiency solutions to make your buildings work more efficiently, sustainably, and profitably. Contact us to learn how or try our operational and energy savings calculator today.