| HIGH PERFORMANCE |
The next generation of office buildings
optimize energy efficiency and
by JORDAN VENEMA
acramento has become an appealing place to set up
shop. With the relatively lower costs of operation,
even Bay Area companies are relocating to the region.
But retail office space inventory is dwindling and of-
ten outdated, putting Sacramento in the position to create a
new generation of efficiency-oriented development.
While the California Public Utilities Commission’s Ener-
gy Efficiency Strategic Plan calls for commercial buildings
to meet zero net energy standards by 2030, the California
Building Standards Code Title 24 already requires new de-
velopment to at least approach minimal LEED certification.
But private and public developments already are willing to
exceed state requirements since high-performance buildings
— buildings optimized for energy, space usage and durability
— prove more marketable to tenants in addition to reducing
operational costs, even in the short run.
Take the California Department of General Services, cur-
rently constructing over 1 million square feet of office space
between two locations, O and 12th streets and P and Seventh
streets. While state requirements mandate a LEED (short for
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certifi-
cation, both buildings expect to achieve LEED Platinum certi-
fication, zero net energy standards and be complete by 2021.
Nick Docous, Lionakis principal and architect working on
the O Street building, explains the state wants “a next-gener-
ation office building with great work space for its employees,
because the well-being of staff is vital and part of recruiting
and retaining talent, since they have to compete with the pri-
vate sector,” he says.
“That starts with a good envelope, the skin of the build-
ing,” says Neil Steiner, with Glumac, a sustainability-engi-
neering company, who is the project manager on both O
Street and P Street developments. “And performance glass,”
he adds, “which basically means tinting and specialty coat-
ings to allow the optimal amount of daylight and heat transfer.
We are conscious about how much glass is on the building
and where it’s located, so we have different shading strate-
gies, with horizontal shading on the south side and vertical
shading on the east and west side.”
Thanks to California Green Building Standards Code,
LEED certification is becoming more common, but some de-
velopers aren’t settling for zero net energy, where buildings
create as much renewable energy as they use.
Architectural Nexus at 930 R St. is one extreme example
of a regenerative building that actually produces more energy
than it uses. Achieving its certification through the Interna-
tional Living Future Institute’s Living Building Challenge, Ar-
chitectural Nexis is the only “living building” (self-sufficient
buildings that produce more energy than they use) in Cali-
fornia, joining only 24 other ILFI Petal Certifications around
“You have to be a little bit crazy and extremely committed
to see it through,” admits Brian Cassil, Architectural Nexus
director of communications.
“The challenge was to demonstrate what was consid-
ered impossible: to create a building that operates com-
pletely off the resources available on the land it sits on and
produce more energy than it uses,” he says.
April 2019 | comstocksmag.com