Founded in 1988, Energy Systems Design is a forward-thinking, pro-environment team of Mechanical, Plumbing and Electrical (MPE) Engineers committed to creative, sustainable engineering design. They are proud to be known for their creative and technically innovative designs and dedication to providing unparalleled service and Owner advocacy. In November of 2011, ESD’s Corporate Office was awarded the first Platinum LEED-CI Certification in the State of Arizona.
Starting design in the late summer of 2010, there were many goals for their project, the main being to prove that existing buildings with average energy performance can be transformed to the most technologically advanced interior environments. Through their design, ESD was able to showcase the newest lighting and lighting controls, HVAC equipment and controls, and plumbing equipment and fixtures which highlight their expertise in the most efficient building systems design. Last but not least, they wanted to maintain a space that can be used as a teaching tool for the industry and community.
As MPE Engineers, it was ESD’s chance to create a design that exemplifies the company’s engineering ideals. Wanting to emphasize the company’s commitment to energy efficiency, the owner of Energy Systems Design, Mo Ardebili, purchased the 10,630 square-foot shell space at the Scottsdale Waterfront. It is located within walking distance to many amenities and has access to the City buses and the Scottsdale Trolley System. All of the employee parking is underground and they have bicycle parking as well as shower and changing facilities within their space. Each of these aspects reduces the urban heat island effect while encouraging employee carpooling and alternative transportation options.
The Project Architect for ESD’s Corporate Office was Simone Stover with DAVIS. The architectural elements incorporated into the space were essential to achieve Platinum Certification. Some of the interior walls were accented with reclaimed wood, the interior doors have an agrifiber core and the break room countertops are made of Paperstone, a 100% post-consumer recycled product. The carpets are NSF certified at gold level and the flooring tiles are made from rubber cork. Some accents and décor are made of recycled glass. Even the furniture, purchased from a local company in Tempe, Arizona, is re-conditioned; composed of about 70% recycled content. Due to conscious coordination on the part of the General Contractor, Tom Landon with Rubson Construction, ESD’s project was able to divert more than 70% of the construction waste from a landfill and fulfill all requirements for LEED documentation and implementation. Through the entire team’s design and construction efforts, they worked to be as sustainable as possible at every turn.
As with any existing space with aspirations to be LEED Platinum, there were challenges. The office is located on the second floor of a non-LEED certified building and ESD could not modify the windows or exterior of the building. The core restrooms fixtures were not low flow and would require modification; there were existing units on the roof that were not highly efficient, but yet were never used.
In order to make the space more efficient, ESD replaced the plumbing fixtures in the core restroom with new low-flow fixtures, they installed window shades on all windows and the 11 rooftop mechanical units were replaced with 7 new, high efficiency heat pumps. The existing units were then donated to a local School District to avoid being disposed of needlessly.
Using innovative design, ESD transformed the spaces where the four unnecessary lower-efficiency rooftop units once sat into custom skylights. These skylights were designed with integral dampers to relieve the excess air and heat from the office. They are centrally located above the main open office area which diffuses natural light throughout the space. There is displacement ventilation in the conference room and each office is equipped with variable flow diffusers that allow the occupant to change their own office temperature within a few degrees. The result is an office in which their employees enjoy coming to work; a comfortable setting that maximizes natural light and maintains optimal healthy environments for its occupants.
During construction there were also various obstacles. Rubson Construction and their sub-contractors had to work off-hours to avoid disturbing the existing retail tenants below the office. Getting the mechanical units on and off the roof was challenging due tothe narrow roadways surrounding the building; therefore positioning a crane on the site was an interesting challenge. Finally, locating the receptacles for trash, sorting and collection on a site with very small open/available areas was also a challenge that was carefully overcome.
Energy efficient lighting was used throughout the office. LED, compact fluorescent and T8 lights were installed, as well as daylight and motion sensors. The interior private offices have glass walls, allowing natural light to filter in and provide views of the outside to every workstation and office. The plumbing fixtures are all low-flow. The newly installed heat pump water heater draws in ambient heat from the surrounding air and transfers it back into the tank to heat the water. By doing this, it reduces the water heating expenses by roughly 60%. There is also a metering system to monitor energy use which interfaces with a TV display in the lobby to highlight real-time energy usage and equipment performance.
As the first and only LEED-CI Platinum office in Arizona, Energy Systems Design serves as an MPE engineering firm which values and demonstrates its commitment to the community and the environment. ESD continues to lead the industry in innovative sustainable design. They have been dedicated to providing creative design and sustainable solutions for their clients and for the preservation of natural resources for over two decades.