The California Independent System Operator Headquarters in Folsom opened earlier this past year ahead of schedule and under its $128 million budget. This non-profit company, which manages the electrical grid for the state, asked Sacramento-based Dreyfuss & Blackford Architects to design this behemoth complex for its headquarters. Keeping step with the energy-conscious movement in California, the 277,000 square-foot LEED Platinum building is a model of energy-efficient architecture that offers a first-class work environment.
The campus of the building is located in the rolling hillside of Folsom, and the native landscape, which includes many oak trees, was preserved during construction. Native landscaping was also installed around the building. In addition to preserving the site, Clark Construction reduced a significant amount of waste that would have been sent to the landfills by recycling material.
The project consists of three wings, each of which offers a distinct function and service for the company. The main lobby is located in the two-story public wing of the headquarters. Wonderful building-long window walls extend throughout the three-story office wing to provide natural daylighting in order to keep lighting energy costs low. Louvered awnings projecting horizontally from the south facade help to keep the intense Folsom sun from heating up the building interiors too much. The mission-critical wing takes care of grid support functions with a 40,000-square-foot data center full of state of the art high-efficiency equipment.
The building itself was designed to use 72% less energy than the company’s previous headquarter location. Twenty percent of annual energy is offset by the 750 kilowatts produced by rooftop and carport mounted photovoltaic systems. Water use was reduced by 30% and gray water provides for 100% of the irrigation. These techniques and systems help to make the California ISO Headquarters a leader in sustainability. These efforts and the energy efficiency of the building help to demonstrate that even large facilities can seek sustainability with enough planning and foresight.