The HOK/Vanderweil āProcess Zero: Retrofit Resolutionā is the winning net zero energy proposal for redesigning a 46-year-old federal office building in downtown Los Angeles for the 2011 Next Generation Design Competition by Metropolis Magazine.
HOK/Vanderweilās āProcess Zero: Retrofit Resolutionā was developed as a collaboration between designers at HOK, a global design practice, and engineers at Vanderweil, an engineering firm based in Boston.
The core principle of the winning proposal was that the building could be retrofitted with various efficient energy saving strategies and other technologies. HOK/Vanderweil’s retrofit design of the old 1960s building reduces the buildingās overall energy demand by 84% while generating the remaining 16% on-site.
The design uses proven energy conservation and renewal strategies, including atria and light wells that bring daylight into workspaces, integrated louvers for natural ventilation, a new facade with 35,000 sq ft of photovoltaic film, 30,000 sq ft of rooftop solar collectors that circulate water through floors to help with climate control, and office equipment operated by a cloud computing system.
The proposed building uses energy-producing microalgae to help provide power in the building. The biomimetic-inspired design proposes a 25,000 sq ft microalgae bioreactor system that generates 9% of the renovated federal buildingās power supply. A modular system of algae tubes wraps the building and absorbs the sunās radiation to produce lipids for fuel production on-site, simultaneously shading interior office spaces. This photobioreactor transforms the building into a living entity.
The researchers not only aimed to find virtuous ideas but also to develop cost-effective, feasible solutions for everyday life. The theme of āthe university as an agent of changeā for sustainability is another key feature of this approach. By encouraging strong partnership with private and public actors, the process promotes the development of feasible products, sustainable practices and virtuous policies.
By engaging multiple disciplines and taking advantage of both new and old energy-saving strategies, HOK/Vanderweil āProcess Zero: Retrofit Resolutionā offers a comprehensive approach to sustainable building design.