Arch Nexus SLC

Our headquarters in Salt Lake City were sustainably remodeled in 2009-2010 and quickly became the greenest building in the Intermountain West when it achieved LEED BD+C v3 Platinum Certification (2011) followed by LEED EBOM v3 Platinum Certification (2014, with a v4.1 recertification via the ARC Platform in 2019). Despite our sustainability success, we found the building was still a net-consumer of energy and didn’t collect rainwater nor did it reuse any of the greywater produced by occupants. As a result, we pursued our Arch Nexus SAC project for our Sacramento office in 2015-2016 as a Living Building Challenge (LBC) project, which incidentally became the first of its kind in California (2018). One of the stated goals of that project was to harness regenerative design knowledge gained in that market in order to bring it back to the Wasatch Front. This page outlines a few of the strategies that we have deployed in order to achieve this goal.

Arch Nexus SLC

Our headquarters in Salt Lake City was sustainably remodeled in 2009-2010 and quickly became the greenest building in the Intermountain West when it achieved LEED BD+C v3 Platinum Certification (2011) followed by LEED EBOM v3 Platinum Certification. Despite our sustainability success, we found the building was still a net-consumer of energy, didn’t collect rainwater, and didn’t reuse any of the greywater produced by occupants. As a result, we pursued our Arch Nexus SAC project for our Sacramento office in 2015-2016 as a Living Building Challenge (LBC) project, which became the first of its kind in California (2018). One of the goals of that project was to harness regenerative design knowledge and bring it back to the Wasatch Front. This page outlines a few of those strategies in order to achieve this goal.

Building Re-Use

The greenest building is the one that has already been built. Arch Nexus SLC was originally constructed in the 1950’s for the USGS as an office/warehouse to store their aerial photography film negatives (so the building was the Google Earth of its time). In the 1970’s it became the home of Soundstream, an audio technology group that commercialized digital recording equipment to much success as they had satellite offices all over the world. In the 1980’s the building was part of a larger complex of buildings used by Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance, and in the 1990’s the last occupant to use the building before us was Bally’s Fitness. Arch Nexus SLC is now in its eighth decade of productive use… that’s a lot of embodied carbon saved multiple times over.

Regenerative Water Systems

Utah’s precipitation (rain and snow) collection regulations are among the most stringent in the nation in that each parcel may only capture and store a maximum of 2,500 gallons. Where the LBC requires that all non-potable end uses be served by non-potable water sources, this severe limitation on storage drove the net positive water balance solution for the project: 2,250 gallons of outdoor storage for urban agriculture; 250 gallons indoor/freeze-protected storage for clothes washing associated with our fitness center and locker/shower rooms; and 180 gallons of treated greywater storage for ultra-low-flow toilet and urinal flushing as well as indoor irrigation for the living walls that punctuate the open office areas.

Regenerative Power Systems

Arch Nexus SLC’s actual Energy Use Intensity (EUI) has been well managed since moving into the building in 2010. Relative to a climate adjusted national average EUI of 95 (ZeroTool.org), energy use in the building immediately prior to the pandemic was driven down to 57 (-40%). In order to achieve ILFI’s Net Positive Energy Imperative the following list of high level interventions, accompanied by myriad additional measures, are being employed in order to reduce the EUI to 26: Solatube skylights; LED lighting conversion; electric heat pump HVAC system; new daylighting courtyard; natural ventilation at new and existing courtyards; new solar photovoltaic system on the roof and over a portion of the parking area.

Biophilia

The innate human-nature connection is a design driver at Arch Nexus SLC. This is best evidenced in the courtyards that have been cut into the existing concrete double-tee roof structure. These courtyards provide a multitude of benefits to occupants. Access to daylight and quality views are obvious ones, but there is much more. By providing a large scale operable folding window system, occupants are given the opportunity to open the office to nature thereby removing the barrier and blending the boundaries between the inside and the outside of the building. Sounds and smells, and yes – even some birds and bugs – are a part of the office experience. Beyond this literal connection to nature, material selections help to recall natural patterns and process in a more abstract fashion.