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TIMELINE  January– October 2011: Design  March– October 2011: Construction  October 10, 2011: Occupancy  July 2012: LEED-NC Platinum certification  May 2013: International Living Future NetZero Energy Building certification The biggest key to executing a net-zero project is early buy-in from the entire team, says Dave Elrod, LEED AP, regional manager, DPR Construction, Phoenix. Drawing from his experience, Elrod found that the most challenging part of the project took place early on before expectations were clearly defined. “It’s about challenging people to think differently and then establishing clear goals, which are built around aligning to expectations,” he explains. Once the building team was all on the same page, it was then time to educate DPR’s staff– the building occupants– about things such as a greater variance in temperature range throughout the day and seasons. “We were significantly changing how people operated and that required a lot of PR work up front, helping people try to understand what we were going to do,” he relates. “Ultimately, it was very effective. When we moved in, there was very little disruption to our daily workflow.”


A connection to the outside and passive systems were major project goals. Air conditioning exists, but is secondary to the natural ventilation scheme.

In the hot Arizona desert climate, the underlying premise of DPR’s HVAC system was not fully eliminating air conditioning, but rather minimizing its use by capitalizing on passive strategies.

At the core of the building’s natural ventilation program is a system of operable windows and custommade “shower towers,” which draw cool air in and through the open floor plan, with the aid of large Big Ass fans.

Capped with showerheads to mist and cool the air entering the building, these shower towers, which are ganged together with a sump pump, recirculate domestic cold water. The hot air is then expelled through a large solar chimney.




Net Zero Buildings - June 2014  

Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design.

Net Zero Buildings - June 2014  

Highlighting the Path Toward Net Zero Building Design.