Water + Life Museum
- Hemet, USA
- Completion: 2006
- 5780 m²
Designed as a passive system, it uses off-peak electric power at night, reducing the need for energy-intensive HVAC air conditioning during the day while also providing the ability to reduce the number of air handling units and increase the efficiency of a chilled-water system.
Since the system adjusts the temperature at the floor, where occupants and exhibits are, instead of at the ceiling, it saves considerable energy. The buildings’ high ceilings — 32 feet in the front space — made this decision especially beneficial. While each of the two main buildings has its own air handler and radiant floor manifolds, they share a boiler, a chiller and a building-management system that controls and monitors the mechanical systems. The photovoltaic system, which covers 50,000 square feet atop almost all of both buildings, currently generates nearly 70 percent of the project’s electricity needs, according to Peter Gevorkian of Vector Delta Design Group in Glendale, Calif., who designed the system. The 540-kilowatt installation, using 185-watt modules from Sharp, was built by electrical subcontractor Morrow-Meadows of Industry, Calif. Although the system cost $4 million, rebates from the California Energy Commission and Southern California Edison’s Savings by Design program cut the price in half, yielding an anticipated seven-year payback. The project earned LEED® Platinum for its energy efficiency and renewable energy in addition to earning credit for purchasing green electricity and two energy-related innovation credits. The submittal for 52 points — the minimum for Platinum — also included innovation credits for recycling more than 95 percent of all construction waste, by weight, and for using the building as a teaching tool.
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