The Energy Resource Center (ERC) has been published in Architectural Record, The Ecology of Architecture, Los Angeles Times, Engineering News Record, Building Design and Construction and the Environmental Resource Guide, while also featured on television's Today's Environment. In 1998, the ERC was awarded one of the top 10 green buildings in the country by the AIA's Committee on the Environment, and was accredited as one of the first LEED buildings in the USA. The design and construction of the hallmark Energy Resource Center (ERC) for the Southern California Gas Company demonstrates green building opportunities abound within the potential design of every project.
The ERC is a benchmark in the progression of sustainable architecture and environmental design. The project demonstrates how to leverage facility investments, achieve greater energy efficiency, create rewarding workplace spaces, achieve optimum indoor air quality, and create premium facilities which respond to the expectations and preferences of building occupants. The basic design concepts used in the project established many of the initial standards for green building design. The techniques and materials used in the building feature many of the strategies for energy-efficient lighting, cooling, and architectural design which are still relevant. The ERC was completed before LEED standards existed, and the design achieved the following significance.
▸ Designated as an Energy Star Building by Environmental Protection Agency. ▸ Exceeded California Title 24 energy building code by 45% (1995). ▸ Modeled new building envelope strategies and pioneered new ways to create high-thermal mass. ▸ Reduced lighting requirements by 40% through day lighting strategies. ▸ Developed mixed hybrid HVAC systems and advanced automated systems controls. ▸ Recycled 67% of the existing building and 62% of demolition materials in new construction (550 tons demolished /350 tons reused). ▸ Eighty percent (80%) of new project materials were made from recycled, reclaimed, or renewable resources. ▸ Water conservation measures include water-saving fixtures, xeriscape landscape, and rainwater harvesting. ▸ Predominant use of nontoxic adhesives, paints, finishing and furnishings. ▸ Employed CO2 sensing system to adjust fresh air intake to optimize indoor air quality.
The building space for designed for exhibits, conferencing, seminars, design assistance, and administrative support was achieved by recycling an existing 1957 building complex owned by the Southern California Gas Company. The center section of the complex was demolished and replaced with a new two-story addition, which provided an additional 12,570 square feet to expand the building from 32,000 to 44,570 square feet. The contractor called the process "open heart surgery."
"Though my work shows a variety of demonstration, educational, and interpretive projects that involve the preservation of natural habitats, have become models for energy efficiency, and pioneer green building concepts, the ERC is a signature, premier green building accomplishment." - Larry Wolff, Architect