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Packard Foundation At 1 Year: Nothing But Net (Zero Energy)

Packard Foundation: Net Zero is Net Positive For Us All

At the Packard Foundation’s open house in June 2012, hopes were high for attaining net zero in terms of energy created versus what was used, by the Platinum Certified building.  Now, one year later the verdict is in: they have the largest LEED Platinum certified net zero energy building in the world. Impressive by any standards.

The building has achieved LEED Platinum certification (the highest form of LEED) and this does require that the building meet water stewardship, waste, materials and energy criteria, among other things.  The Net Zero Energy Building Certification is awarded by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI).  The building is the largest certified NZE building in the world. This is remarkable because designing NZE buildings is one thing, but actually getting them to operate at NZE is quite another. Credit for creating a design that delivered such results go to EHDD’s team of Scott Shell and John Christiansen.


Susan Orr noted, “We want to be kicked off our spot, we want to lose this one in the HP competitive way”, referencing wanting another building to “one up” their stellar rating. The challenge is on!


We got that information from Susan Orr, Chair of the Packard Foundation, at the Foundation’s Oct. 17 celebration.  She reported that the foundation has been in the business of supporting families and communities for almost 50 years and they wanted a sustainable and beautiful building as they continue their work.

“We want to be kicked out of our spot” noted Susan Orr, “we want to lose this one in the HP competitive way”

Many Los Altans came to proudly celebrate the crowning achievement of the Packard Foundation, a memorable moment indeed.


We also heard from Carol Larson, President of the Foundation.  She gave us some of the details that allow a building to be LEED net zero:  More than 900 solar panels, 40% less water use than with a comparably sized building, 100% rain water capture, 90% native plants, 95% recycling of the material from the site deconstruction, and much more.  She made the point that they did not use any ground breaking new technologies, so it is within the reach of any new project.  She also made the point that it is so important – climate change puts all of their good work at risk.

GreenTown could not agree more.  Well done and congratulations, Packard Foundation!

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