Savings by Design tour at the Hilton Foundation

By root
In May 8, 2014
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The AIA Ventura County had the privilege of touring the recently completed Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Headquarters in Agoura Hills.  The LEED-Platinum certified project, designed by the Los Angeles office of ZGF Architects, was designed to be a Zero-Net Energy facility, meaning that the building will ultimately use no more energy than it produces (using photovoltaic and solar thermal collectors).  The 22,000 square foot project earned significant incentives through Southern California Edison’s “Savings by Design” program, which supports energy-efficient building design.  Southern California Edison was the host for the evening’s event.

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To achieve a Zero-Net Energy building, explained project architect Frank Maldonado during the evening’s presentation, the designers incorporated a number of innovative strategies.  The building’s spaces are organized along a series of downdraft “chimneys,” which bring in outside air up near the roof, cool it, and then allow the natural convective flow of cool air (which sinks, relative to warmer air) to drive the building’s ventilation.  In this way, they have eliminated most of the fan energy in the building.  The building is also washed with plentiful natural daylight, eliminating the need for electric lighting much of the time.  In order to mitigate glare and bring daylight deeper into the space, carefully designed shading devices (such as light shelves and exterior screening elements) are incorporated into the design.

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During the tour, the Foundation’s Facilities Manger, Katherine Miller, explained that one of the most important elements in realizing a high-performance facility like this is to engage in ongoing monitoring of the energy-consuming systems.  It’s important to compare the predicted, modeled performance to the actual system operation, so that adjustments can be made to optimize the building’s efficiency.  One opportunity they discovered through this process was that the solar thermal panels produce significantly more energy than the building actually needs for heating. As a result, the Foundation is considering an absorption chiller for their next phase on the site, which would use the excess heat energy to drive a space cooling (air conditioning) process.

The AIA Ventura County appreciated the opportunity for our membership to see the facility firsthand and to learn from its example.  Click here to learn more about the features of this innovative building.

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