ZERO ENERGY OFFICE BUILDING
SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FUND
Drawing on Passive House strategies, the design sets a regional standard in sustainability - from both economic and performance perspectives.
A Schnecksville, Pennsylvania apple orchard will soon be home to the first energy positive building in the Lehigh Valley.
Construction began in April 2019 on the unique, sustainable office building that is located in an industrial region generally known for steel production. Designed for the Sustainable Energy Fund, the building is expected to refocus the spotlight on the central and eastern Pennsylvania community seeking to complete new projects with innovative, energy-conscious construction.
Andrew Schuster, Principal, explains, “This project will confirm to the commercial sector that net-positive energy can be achieved for the same costs as a conventional office building—something that the developer community has been reluctant to pursue. We’re excited to collaborate with a client like SEF who share our commitment to regenerative design and the proven value it offers to all stakeholders.”
THE SEF BUILDING WILL CONSUME ABOUT 25% OF THE ENERGY USED BY COMPARABLE COMMERCIAL STRUCTURES WHILE GENERATING MORE THAN 130% OF THE ENERGY IT NEEDS.
The 15,000-square-foot building will consume about 75 percent less operating energy than comparable structures. Ashley McGraw is employing several design and technological strategies for achieving this high standard of efficiency while delivering the project within budget limitations:
The building will be oriented on its site—within an existing apple orchard—to take maximum advantage of sun and shade, with its surfaces and openings precisely positioned to minimize energy expenditures
An array of photovoltaic panels mounted on the roof of the single-story building will generate all necessary energy for the operation of the facility
The building envelope is designed for high performance, with continuous insulation and a close attention to airtightness
All building systems—from HVAC to plumbing to electrical and lighting—are selected and engineered for optimal performance
The building will offer shared amenity spaces for tenants, including a conference room/classroom, kitchen, and restrooms. It is being done as a design/build project in partnership with TN Ward Company. Construction is expected to be completed in December 2019.