- Location: Rohnert Park, CA
- Building type(s): Laboratory, Higher education
- New construction
- 2,200 ft2 (204 m2)
- Project scope: a single building
- Urban setting
- Completed July 2001
Rating: Zero Energy Building
The Environmental Technology Center (ETC) is an interactive and integrative 2,200-ft2 facility where faculty, students, and community members can work together in research training, academic study, and collaborative environmental projects. ETC is "a building that teaches." With the help of the National Science Foundation, California Energy Commission, and numerous other public and private funders, Sonoma State University used a collaborative design process to create this example of sustainable design.
Zero Energy Building
The Environmental Technology Center was designed to use 80% less energy than buildings built to minimal compliance with California's Title 24 requirements. ETC achieved this through the use of energy-efficient techniques such as a tight building envelope, thermal mass, shading, and other features. ETC includes a 3-kW rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that is tied to the grid and is a net energy exporter. So, this building qualifies as a net zero energy building (ZEB) in the following areas:
- Site ZEB: Building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the site. ETC produces all of its needed electricity through a PV system that is within the building’s footprint. Any natural gas used for domestic hot water and radiant heat is also offset at the site by PV generation.
- Source ZEB: Building produces at least as much energy as it uses in a year, when accounted for at the source. ETC 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 ZEB: Building produces at least as much emissions-free renewable energy as it uses from emission-producing energy sources annually. ETC offsets any emissions for which it is responsible through its PV system which produces electricity with zero emissions. .
The Environmental Technology Center is a model for many sustainable building techniques and technologies. The building includes energy- and water-efficient landscaping, "smart building" control technologies, environmentally sensitive building materials, passive-solar heating and cooling, advanced window systems and daylighting, solar electric technology, and electronic control systems.
Designed to use only 20% of the energy allowed by state energy code for similar buildings, ETC serves as a model of public sector fiscal and environmental responsibility for California's universities and colleges. ETC was first occupied in Spring 2001. The building occupants and visitors are not the only ones who may benefit from this ecologically designed model building. Sonoma State University, in collaboration with the building's architects, has compiled user-friendly Internet resources that allow people from all over the world to learn about the sustainable design features in ETC.
The Environmental Technology Center's purposes are to: 1) Demonstrate sustainable building design principles and environmentally responsible living, 2) educate design professionals, builders, facility managers, teachers, students and members of the community about sustainability, and 3) serve as a university classroom and community conference facility.
Owner & Occupancy
- Owned by Sonoma State University, State government
- Typically occupied by 5 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 20 visitors per week, 2 hours per visitor per week
The occupancy of this building will vary from a minimum of the site supervisor and three to six students doing research eight hours a day, to tours of twenty exploring the building for two hours, to special monthly events with more than a hundred people.
Office, Classroom, Lobby/reception
Garden—decorative, Drives/roadway, Wildlife habitat
Integrated team, Stormwater management, Efficient irrigation, Drought-tolerant landscaping, Massing and orientation, Insulation levels, Passive solar, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, On-site renewable electricity, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Ventilation effectiveness, Thermal comfort, Low-emitting materials