The closest net-zero energy building to San Francisco before this project is in Los Altos.

SAN FRANCISCO—Builder DPR Construction, which specializes in highly technical and sustainable projects, has opened a new, 24,000-square-foot San Francisco Bay Area regional office at 945 Front St. here. The building is San Francisco’s first official net-zero energy building.

Previously located at 1050 Sansome St., DPR’s existing full-time employees will move to the new location, which allows for future growth. The office, one of three integrated Bay Area offices for the firm, has been open for 18 years.

The new office produces as much as or more energy than it consumes, and DPR aims to achieve official net-zero energy building certification by the International Living Future Institute through its Living Building Challenge program. It will be the third DPR office to serve as a living lab for sustainability: the Phoenix office achieved NZEB certification in 2013, and the San Diego office should receive certification later this year.

There are currently 12 buildings in the US that have been certified as net-zero energy by the ILFI’s challenge. The Los Altos, CA-based David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters is the closest NZEB to San Francisco, a project on which DPR served as the general contractor.

According to Mike Humphrey, regional manager for DPR Construction, “We continue to see both our client base and workforce expand in the Bay Area and to accommodate that growth, we sought a larger workspace that would also allow us to renovate and incorporate cost-saving and environmentally friendly features. We intend for our San Francisco office to become the third DPR office to achieve net-zero energy certification and serve as a ‘living lab’ to test the newest and most-intelligent energy-efficient products on the market for others to see firsthand.”

The design team included San Francisco-based design firm FME Architecture + Design, Oakland-based consulting firm Integral Group and 58 other essential partners. “Through my experience designing their Phoenix and Raleigh-Durham offices, I was well acquainted with DPR’s innovative spirit and thrilled to, once again, be part of a team willing to challenge convention in the pursuit of doing something extraordinary,” says Jennifer Harding, an executive with FME. “There’s a contagious excitement that comes from being a part of something larger than ourselves.”

The team researched, designed, permitted and built the property with a number of sustainability features including:

  • targeting LEED NC v4 Platinum certification
  • 118kw photovoltaic system to produce renewable energy and provide power throughout the office, reducing the cost of electricity
  • complete structural renovation and roof replacement to support the PV system
  • rooftop solar thermal water-heating system
  • eight Velux solar-power, automated operable skylights over the atrium
  • nine 8-ft. Essence and four Haiku Big Ass Fans that efficiently promote air flow within the office
  • three living walls installed by Habitat Horticulture in addition to a living wine bar—live plants growing beneath the glass bar top
  • reclaimed redwood from the deconstructed Moffett Field Hangar One in Mountain View, CA, and reclaimed Douglas Fir from piles salvaged from the San Francisco Transbay Transit Center project
  • shared learning lab, fitness center and restrooms with subtenant.

DPR will not occupy the whole space initially, but is “thrilled to be in sublease negoatiatoins with another sustainable thought leader, Environmental Building Strategies,” says Humphrey. “We share a common vision for responsibility in construction.” DPR did not respond to before deadline to discuss the total construction costs for the project.