Tue11252014

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Packard Foundation headquarters operates at net zero energy


The David and Lucile Packard Foundation has achieved the goal of operating its headquarters building at net zero energy by generating more than enough electricity to meet its needs during the first full year of occupancy.

The 49,000-square-foot building at 343 Second St. in Los Altos is the largest building to date to receive Net Zero Energy Building Certification through the International Living Future Institute. It is one of few buildings worldwide to carry both that designation and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification.

Foundation officials showed off the new building to the public during an open house Thursday.

“We’re just so pleased it worked out as well as it did,” said Susan Packard Orr, chairwoman of the foundation board.

Carol Larson, foundation president and CEO, added that the foundation “managed to make a sustainable building that (also) turned out to be a beautiful building.”

The architects and builders achieved the goal of generating enough electricity to serve the foundation’s needs with solar panels that should pay for themselves within 10 years.

“When the foundation was designing the building, we made a conscious effort to live the values we support. The building is a physical manifestation of our long-term commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Larson said in a statement. “Our hope is that the building will serve as an inspiration to other organizations, businesses and individuals.”

Materials used for the interior finishes are low in volatile organic compounds emissions, and the ventilation system uses 100 percent outside air.

The building, which houses 110 employees, was designed to reduce water consumption by 40 percent by capturing and reusing rainwater for irrigation and toilet flushing. The landscaping includes 90 percent California native plants to eliminate pesticide use.

For more information, visit packard.org.

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