Salazar Hall Remodel Wins National Award for Energy Design, Efficiency
A unique system of low-energy cooling, lighting control, high-efficiency
glazing, and photo-voltaics in the remodeling of Salazar Hall on the Sonoma
State University campus has earned the building project a national award
for energy efficiency.
Energy User News honored the former campus library remodeling project
at its 2003 Energy Efficient Building Awards ceremony held recently during
the World Energy Engineering Congress of the Association of Energy Engineers.
The awards recognize innovations in building management and energy efficiency
— in either retrofits or new construction throughout North America — that
provide unique building solutions and also achieve significant energy
and cost savings. The Salazar project was judged in the educational facilities
"The judges look for projects that go beyond what is required by the State,"
says Energy User News editor Kevin Hanlin, "not just those that picked
the low-hanging fruit."
The remodel of Salazar Hall made the former university library one of
the most energy efficient public buildings in northern California. It
has one of the largest solar panel grids in the region covering 9,500
square feet with 1200 panels.
The building uses 42% less energy than required by the State's Title 24
Building Standards. Such energy savings are enough to power 80 residences.
Campus project engineer Keith Marchando has been given much of the credit
for the innovative mix of design features in the building. Marchando worked
with the architects and engineers to develop a unique application utilizing
the proven technology of direct and indirect evaporative cooling, powering
the fans and pumps with solar energy.
In the past year, this system has provided conditioned air to 120,000
sq. ft of classroom and office building space with almost no mechanical
cooling required, reducing by 70% the cost of operations as compared to
a traditional efficient mechanical cooling system.
The Salazar project is currently being studied by the Lawrence Livermore
Lab in Berkeley which has been documenting the performance of the building
The $20 million dollar project includes a denser occupancy of offices,
classrooms and high-tech laboratories than its original use. Indoor air
quality in the building is so improved with 100% fresh air constantly
circulating through the building that Marchando hopes it can prove that
there will be savings in reduced sick time taken by employees who work
there. Industry experts believe that improved air quality in buildings
can save up to $400 per year per employee in untapped sick leave.
While photo-voltaics are the most obvious of the energy conservation measures
in this project, the evaporative cooling application is a truly innovative
measure. The two-stage cooling application adds approximately $350,000
to the project, but Sonoma State engineers report the design reduces peak
load by almost 400 tons on the hottest days.
Campus architect Bruce Walker says the project will pay back the investment
in the mechanical equipment in five years or less of energy savings. "This
project was not conceived to simply reduce utility costs, but to provide
a valuable opportunity for Sonoma State University to explore the viability
of alternative energy," Walker says.
By avoiding the purchase of fossil fuel-generated electricity, SSU's solar
powered system spares the environment from thousands of tons of harmful
emissions such as carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and sulfur dioxide. Over
the 25-year life of the system, it is estimated that these emissions reductions
are equivalent to planting 24 acres of trees or removing 400 cars from
Earlier this year, the project won the 2003 Technology Award for Institutional
Buildings from both the local and regional American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers. The project is currently
under consideration for this prestigious award at the national level next
CAPTION: Campus engineer Keith Marchando with solar array on roof
of Salazar Hall.