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.
The Sustainable Energy Fund (SEF) is designing and building a Zero Energy office building to demonstrate that Net Zero Energy can be achieved for the same cost as a conventional developer office building. The new SEF headquarters will be a model of how buildings can and should be done moving forward. Ashley McGraw’s design was arrived at through a combination of deep site analysis and a facilitated study of the SEF’s culture, which resulted in linear building that faces the sun and is brightly daylit. The rhythm and materiality of the design are rooted in the site’s former use as an apple orchard.
Ed McGraw, founding partner and CEO of Ashley McGraw, explains, “This project will demonstrate to the commercial sector that net zero 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 shares 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.
SEF intends for the building to prove that zero energy can be commercially viable and is feasible for other commercial building owners to pursue.
To achieve the goals of zero energy in a commercially viable office building, the project design is pursuing a Passive House approach, driving performance through a highly insulated building envelope that is extremely airtight. The efficient envelope permits the use of an air-source VRF mechanical system, which meets the ideal combination of lower first cost, future versatility, and energy efficiency. Additionally, SEF will be metering the energy use by system and tenant so that they can understand where energy is being used, better track the zero energy goal and help everyone learn about energy usage in the building.
Located in the Lehigh Valley town of Schnecksville, PA, the SEF building will offer shared amenity spaces for tenants, including a conference room/classroom, kitchen, and restrooms. Groundbreaking is slated for April 2019; construction services will be provided by TN Ward Company. The project is anticipated to be completed by summer of 2019.