DPR San Diego

DPR San Diego

In 2008, the DPR Construction San Diego regional office made the transition from renter to owner with a purchase of a twenty-five year old “C-class” office building two blocks away from their existing space.  By starting with an integrative design process and high performing team, they were able to isolate specific strategies of sustainability that complied with four very specific goals:

  1. The project must be zero-net energy upon completion and operation – a goal for all commercial buildings in California by 2030
  2. Make the best use of what the building had – while not employing any strategies that did not have 10-year return on investments to prove a market case for sustainability
  3. Bring the outside in – take advantage of the wonderful climate that is San Diego
  4. Remain within the overall culture of the company – respect the individual and change the world by changing the industry

The project vision is to create an inspirational and collaborative space through a deep-green existing building retrofit with current technologies and strategies that demonstrated real-life financial returns to rival alternative options.  Ultimately, we hoped to demonstrate our conviction in environmentally and socially responsible operations while proving the financial business case of deep-green building with an actual project in the built environment – A project that seemingly represents the majority of class A office space for the world and could be easily replicated by the industry, our partners, and our clients.

The site and building selected resides in a medium density, industrial light zoned business park in an urban context with a preferable location within the City of San Diego context.  The business park is dominated by low & mid-rise structures built in the 1980’s, at the end of their perceived building life cycle, that demonstrated little or no imperative for energy efficiency or passive design – the perfect scenario to demonstrate that an existing building could be renovated in place without substantially replacing the main source of embodied GHG and energy of the structural components required of typical new construction.

Vital Stats

Certification Goal NZEB
Version of LBC 3.0
Location San Diego, CA
Living Transect L4 General Urban Zone
Typology Renovation
Project Area 24,144 sf
Gross Building Area 34,020 sf
Start of Construction July 2009
Start of Occupancy May 2010
Start of 12-month Occupancy Period January 2011
Owner Occupied Yes
Number of Occupants 55
Number of Daily Visitors 12
Typical Hours of Operation M-F 7am-6pm

Project Team

Owner DPR Construction
Owner Representative Peter Salvati
Project Director/Manager DPR
Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing DNV KEMA – Shayne Rolfe, Doug Kot
Lighting Design Design/Build Bergelectric
Civil Latitude 33
Landscape Howard & Associates, Mark Moss
Structural Hope Engineering, Chuck Hope
Key Subcontractors Pacific Rim Mechanical, Bergelectric, Montbleau, Re:Source, General Coatings, Silva Caseworks, Independent Energy Solutions, Unisource, Centex Glazing, Solatube, Big Ass Fans, Kirei, SDGE Savings By Design
Photo courtesy of DPR Photo courtesy of DPR

The project team’s primary strategy in reducing energy consumption was to capitalize on the existing climate of the region for a large portion of the building’s cooling and ventilation requirements.  To this end, the building employs a system of motorized operable windows and roof monitors to benefit from prevailing breezes and to facilitate stack ventilation in the building.  In combination, the windows and monitors create the effect of a solar chimney within the structure that provides passive ventilation to the space.  The secondary strategy for reducing energy consumption is a broad based natural daylighting strategy which includes solar tubes and south facing roof monitors which allow for the overall reduction of lighting requirements to the space.  With high efficiency plumbing fixtures, low flow rate metered faucets, and climate controlled irrigation, the project further reduces its daily operating cost by saving substantial amounts of water.  Finally, onsite generation of energy through 64 kW-AC photovoltaic system provides the balance of annual energy consumption.

Photo courtesy of DPR Photo courtesy of DPR

The project team’s primary strategy in reducing energy consumption was to capitalize on the existing climate of the region for a large portion of the building’s cooling and ventilation requirements.  To this end, the building employs a system of motorized operable windows and roof monitors to benefit from prevailing breezes and to facilitate stack ventilation in the building.  In combination, the windows and monitors create the effect of a solar chimney within the structure that provides passive ventilation to the space.  The secondary strategy for reducing energy consumption is a broad based natural daylighting strategy which includes solar tubes and south facing roof monitors which allow for the overall reduction of lighting requirements to the space.  With high efficiency plumbing fixtures, low flow rate metered faucets, and climate controlled irrigation, the project further reduces its daily operating cost by saving substantial amounts of water.  Finally, onsite generation of energy through 64 kW-AC photovoltaic system provides the balance of annual energy consumption.

Photo courtesy of DPR Photo courtesy of DPR
Photo courtesy of DPR Photo courtesy of DPR