Energy Petal

The Issue 

Energy is too often generated from highly polluting and often politically destabilizing sources such as coal, gas, oil, and nuclear power. While large-scale hydro power is inherently cleaner, it is also problematic as it results in widespread damage to ecosystems. Energy generated from incinerators releases particulates and carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. The effects of these energy sources on regional and planetary health make it clear that renewable energy sources are critical to our livelihood.

Energy Petal Intent

The Energy Petal is intended to advance an approach to design wherein the built environment relies entirely on renewable forms of energy, completely abandoning fossil fuels as a source of power. Additionally, the Energy Petal requires that energy conservation measures and system optimization be prioritized before technological solutions are applied to eliminate wasteful use of energy and financial resources.

Sustainability in Action at Hillside Gateway & Parkside North

Large solar energy arrays, optimized mechanical systems, energy efficient appliances, and building design that minimizes heat gain while maximizing access to daylight were utilized by the design and construction team to meet the Energy Petal standard.

An 88 kW, bifacial solar energy system shades the courtyard of Hillside Gateways, generating all of the energy needed to power both the administrative office and commons buildings.

Parkside North’s system, which is forecasted to generate approximately 150,000 kWh of energy per year and sits atop the four-story building providing shade and coverage for the rooftop lounge. These “bi-facial” solar systems collect light from both sides, maximizing their energy generation. The balance of the energy needed to achieve Net Positive energy is gleamed by the permanent dedication of an adjacent solar array's power to the project, located in a nearby parking lot. This means that the total amount of energy used by the building on an annual basis is equal to the amount of renewable energy created on the site.

In addition to the renewable energy systems, the buildings also meet the Energy Petal requirements by solely utilizing electric systems and appliances. None of the stoves, ovens, heaters, or other equipment are powered using natural gas, which is a fossil fuel.

Both buildings feature highly efficient mechanical systems for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning. Systems include a dedicated outside air system paired with VRF (variable refrigerant flow) condensing heat pumps that allow occupants the ability to control the temperature (heating and cooling) within their individual zone, as well as fan coil units that provide air distribution with quiet operation. Finally, the lighting design includes indirect LEDs which allows for maximum spread of light with a minimum energy demand.