Neglected to Net Zero: Robert Redford Conservancy Certified Zero Net Energy

The Robert Redford Conservancy at Pitzer College was once an abandoned historic building which had been damaged in a fire. Integral Group partnered with a design team lead by architect Carrier Johnson to transform the building into a highly sustainable learning environment; and now, after a year of careful energy data collection, the project has been Certified as a Zero Energy Building by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).

To achieve Zero Net Energy Certification, a building’s owner must supply a year worth of energy data to prove that 100% of the building’s energy needs on a net annual basis are supplied by onsite renewable energy (no combustion is allowed).

The Robert Redford Conservancy is Integral Group’s fifth project to be Zero Net Energy Certified, and our first in Southern California. The project is also:

  • The 1st ZNE Certified higher education building in California
  • The 4th ZNE Certified higher education building in the world
  • The 15th ZNE Certified project in California

Integral Group’s other Zero Net Energy projects are:

The project team worked together to implement smart, cost effective and simple design strategies. Passive design elements include extensive daylighting and natural ventilation. Minimal electricity-driven HVAC equipment was installed. The two rooftop photovoltaic arrays shade the outdoor classroom roofs while generating 88,039 kWh/yr. Water conservation efforts reduced potable water usage minimized to a 35.6% reduction below code.

91% of existing building structure/enclosure was reused and reinforced to extend the building’s life cycle by over 50 years, contributing to the vast reduction in embodied carbon in comparison to the construction of a brand new building.

This project serves as a prime example of the many opportunities — both sustainable and financial — presented when transforming existing buildings into new spaces.