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White Paper Watch: The Path to Net-Zero Energy

How DPR’s living labs are pioneering Net-Zero Energy building certification

In the ever-evolving sustainable design and construction arena, many owners and project teams are setting their sights on a goal that seemed improbable just a short time ago: creating commercial buildings that produce as much or more energy as they consume each year, known as net-zero energy buildings (NZEB).

While this emerging trend is still gaining traction, DPR has embraced the net-zero energy challenge in far more than just theory. Regional office projects in San Francisco, Phoenix, San Diego, Reston, Sacramento, Newport Beach and elsewhere demonstrate how the company’s core value of being “ever forward” is fulfilled through environmentally responsible spaces that benefit not only DPR’s own employees but also the communities in which they work.

In total, DPR has built four net-zero projects—the David and Lucile Packard Foundation corporate headquarters, as well as three award-winning net-zero regional offices in Phoenix, San Francisco and San Diego. DPR’s Reston office, which opened in July, is also targeting net-zero energy. These DPR offices are prime examples of how the company is staying on the leading edge of developments in sustainability, and helping pioneer a movement that many expect will ultimately make net-zero energy the “new norm.” More than just offices, these buildings serve as living laboratories that showcase the latest in sustainable concepts in a variety of regions and climates.

“The Path to Net-Zero Energy” white paper details DPR’s net-zero living labs:

  • San Diego: Completed in 2010, the 34,000-sq.-ft building served as the launching pad for DPR’s net-zero initiatives and laid the groundwork for future high performance, sustainable projects. While it has garnered plenty of recognition for its appealing sustainable design and status as both the first LEED Platinum-certified and the first net-zero energy office of its size in San Diego, the biggest payoff for DPR has been the improved quality of life and high satisfaction rating of the employees who work there.
  • Phoenix: The LEED®-NC Platinum, 16,533-sq.-ft. structure is Arizona’s first net-zero energy office building, as certified by the International Living Future Institute’s (ILFI) Living Building ChallengeSM 2.1. Producing as much or more energy than it consumes, DPR’s Phoenix office was the largest commercial building in the world with NZEB certification in 2013; it was only the second office in the nation to receive certification.
  • San Francisco: DPR’s San Francisco office is the first commercial office in San Francisco to achieve NZEB certification to date. By being both the owner and contractor for the renovation project, DPR was able to push the limits on its sustainability goals for the 24,010-sq.-ft. building and create a true living lab of sustainable business practices for San Francisco.
  • Reston (targeting net-zero): DPR’s Reston office opened in July 2016, and is the fourth DPR office to target net-zero energy and the first of its kind in the D.C.-metro region. Rather than building new, DPR chose to renovate the 20,000-sq.-ft. space, which had previously been vacant for more than seven years.

Read the case study in its entirety here.


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