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IDeAs Z2 Design Facility

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IDeAs Z Squared Design Facility
(IDeAs Z2 Design Facility)

Rendering of IDeAs headquarters building
Photo credit: EHDD Architecture


  • Location: San Jose, CA
  • Building type(s): Commercial office
  • Renovation of a 1960 building
  • 6,560 ft2 (609 m2)
  • Project scope: 2-story building
  • Urban setting
  • Completed August 2007

IDeAs' new headquarters building was designed to meet 100% of its net energy requirements using renewable energy from photovoltaics. The project transformed a commonplace building—a 60s era tilt up concrete, building—into something extraordinary for our times. It is believed to be the first commercial building in the United States to be designed to a "Z2" energy efficiency goal; that is, net zero energy and zero carbon emissions. The intent of the design was to be a "proof of concept" to demonstrate how thoughtful design and a full complement of sustainable design techniques can simultaneously achieve ultra high energy efficiency and high comfort for occupants using current technologies while reaching net zero energy at an affordable price. The building was fit with a fully integrated, grid-tied, net-metering, photovoltaic system sized to provide 100% of the net energy requirements, allowing it to make zero contribution to global warming.

Zero Energy Building

The IDeAs Z2 Design Facility is designed to be a carbon-neutral, net zero energy building (ZEB). The facility is all electric. To satisfy the energy requirements, IDeAs incorporated a photovoltaic (PV) array into the building's footprint. Specifically, the IDeAs Facility qualifies as a:

  • Site ZEB: Building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the site. The IDeAs building produces all of its needed electricity through on-site PV.
  • Source ZEB: Building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the source. The IDeAs Facility is considered a source ZEB because the energy generated on-site through PV is greater than the energy used when accounted for at the source.
  • Emissions (carbon) ZEB: Building produces at least as much emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from emission-producing energy sources annually. The renewable energy the IDeAs building produces offsets the carbon emissions resulting from the project's operations.

Environmental Aspects

The building harvests daylight and uses automatic lighting controls to reduce electric lighting energy consumption, provides outside views for building occupants, uses occupancy sensors to turn off lights in unoccupied spaces, uses high efficiency (plug in) office equipment and innovative automatic controls to minimize plug loads, and provides a high-efficiency HVAC system featuring radiant heating and cooling in the floor and a ground-source heat pump. Finally, a 30-kW rooftop and shade canopy-integrated photovoltaic system supplies 100% of IDeAs electricity needs.

  • Utilizes electrochromic glass and a photocell on the East windows to automatically reduce solar gains when the window is exposed to direct sunlight.
  • Reduces summertime solar heat gain from sliding glass doors on the South façade via a unique sunshade constructed from laminated glass with integral photovoltaic cells.
  • Utilizes waterless urinals, dual flush toilets and high efficiency faucets to reduce water.
  • Reduced parking areas and replaced with drought tolerant landscaping to reduce the heat island effect.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned by David and Stephania Kaneda, Individual(s)
  • Occupants: Corporation, for-profit
  • Typically occupied by 12 people, 40 hours per person per week

Building Programs

Indoor Spaces:

Office, Restrooms, Lobby/reception

Outdoor Spaces:

Parking, Patio/hardscape, Drives/roadway, Garden—decorative


Integrated team, Design charrette, Green specifications, Performance measurement and verification, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Insulation levels, Glazing, Passive solar, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, On-site renewable electricity, Salvaged materials, Recycled materials, Occupant recycling, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials

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