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San Diego County Building The Nation's First Zero Net Energy Archive

Work has started on San Diego County’s new Assessor, Recorder, County Clerk office in Santee, a 25K SF structure that will be home to the East County Branch Office and Archives. The building will be the country’s first zero net energy archive facility.

East County Branch Office and Archives

The county's board of supervisors adopted its Climate Action Plan in February to address sustainability and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions within the county. The ARCC building’s energy-efficient design, which meets LEED Gold and zero net energy specifications, aligns with the county’s long-term energy goals.

Because the facility is meant to be partly an archive, the project is particularly challenging, because the building needs to maintain strict temperature and humidity conditions to preserve delicate archived materials while at the same time being zero net energy.

"The first step in designing the archive space was to understand the temperature and humidity targets and the allowable range," C.W. Driver Project Executive Andy Feth said. C.W. Driver is building the structure.

To accomplish zero net energy — and generate enough renewable energy to meet its own consumption requirements — the ARCC building and parking lot will support about 375 highly efficient photovoltaic cells. All building systems will use electrical power. 

The building will also leverage natural daylight and breezes from the surrounding environment to maintain warm and cool temperatures inside.

The temperature and humidity targets for the building were modified slightly after C.W. Driver was awarded the project as a result of a study of the existing documents by an archival consultant the county engaged, Feth said.

"This change in criteria required a re-evaluation of the mechanical systems to meet a tighter temperature and humidity tolerance," Feth said.

C.W. Driver Project Executive Andy Feth

"With the mindset of designing the most energy-efficient system to support the zero net energy goal, equipment was then selected," Feth said. "The envelope of the archive space required a very low level of allowable vapor transmission to support the stringent temperature and humidity requirements." 

The county archives will be within the building’s northeast corner and include highly insulated concrete walls that create a vault-like feel. All of the building's office areas will enjoy natural light and provide views of the surrounding landscape. 

The ARCC building will also unite a variety of county functions and support the agency’s growth. The structure will house tax collector and recorder facilities in its north portion, with assessor and staff support services in the south. 

Designed by architect and planning firm The Miller Hull Partnership, the ARCC facility is at 10144 Mission Gorge Road. It will accommodate about 60 county employees, with completion slated for late 2019.