DPR Construction Uses Solar Power in First Net-Zero Energy Designed Office Building in San Francisco


DPR Construction unveils a new San Francisco office that aims to achieve official Net-Zero Energy Building certification. The building uses solar among other features that allow it to produce as much energy as it consumes — or more.


DPR Construction, a national builder specializing in highly technical and sustainable projects, is walking its talk. It has opened a new San Francisco Bay Area Regional Office to honor the company’s commitment to environmental responsibility and innovation.

Producing at least as much energy as it consumes, DPR’s San Francisco office aims to achieve official Net-Zero Energy Building (NZEB) certification by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) through its Living Building Challenge program. The San Francisco office will be the third DPR office to serve as a living lab for sustainability; the Phoenix office achieved net-zero energy certification in 2013 and the San Diego office should receive certification in late 2014.

So far, just 12 buildings in the U.S. have been certified as net-zero energy by the Living Building Challenge.

“We continue to see both our client base and workforce expand in the Bay Area and to accommodate that growth, we sought a larger work space that would also allow us to renovate and incorporate cost-saving and environmentally friendly features,” said Mike Humphrey, Regional Manager, DPR Construction, in a statement. “We intend for our San Francisco office to … serve as a ‘living lab’ to test the newest and most intelligent energy efficient products on the market for others to see firsthand.”

Among a number of sustainability features, the building includes a 118 kW PV system to produce renewable energy and provide power throughout the office, reducing the cost of electricity. To support the PV system, a complete structural renovation and roof replacement was required. The building also features a rooftop solar thermal water heating system and eight Velux solar-powered, automated operable skylights over the atrium.

The team, which included included San Francisco design firm FME Architecture + Design, Oakland-based consulting firm Integral Group, and 58 other essential partners, worked quickly. They researched, designed, permitted, and built the highly efficient, 24,000-square-foot modern workplace in just five months. A lot can be done with the right resources and determination.