Presidio National Park Building

Location: Owner:

Date Completed: Architect & Designer: Structural and Electrical Engineers: Equity Builders

Presidio National Park, Building 1016, San Francisco, California U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service May 1996

Tanner, Leddy, Maytum, Stacy

Tradesmen Required: Applicable Building Codes: Applicable Electric Codes: PV Product: Size:


California structural and seismic codes National Electric Code

Roof-integrated, translucent glass-laminate skylight 1.25 kWp

Projected System Electrical Output: 716.4 kWh/yr/AC

Gross PV Surface Area: PV Weight: PV Cell Type: PV Efficiency: PV Module Manufacturer: Inverter Size:

Inverter Manufacturer and Model: Interconnection:

215 ft2 8 lb/ft2

Polycrystalline silicon

Solar Building Systems, Atlantis Energy

4 kW

Trace Engineering Model 4048 Utility-Grid-Connected

The first application for integrating photovoltaics into a Federal building is the skylighted entryway of the Thoreau Center in Presidio National Park.

The PV arrays produce electricity and serve as a daylighting design element.

The Greening of the Presidio demonstrates the impact of successful partnerships between the private and public sector. The Thoreau Center for Sustain-ability is a historic building, located in the National Historic Landmark District of the Presidio in San Francisco, California. The goal of transforming this historic building into an environmentally responsive structure produced an opportunity to apply principles of sustainable design and architecture and educate the public about them. Within this building rehabilitation project, materials selected for the renovation included recycled textile materials, recycled aluminum, recycled newsprint, recycled glass, and wood grown and harvested sustainably.

The environmentally friendly strategy included reducing energy consumption through a Demand Side Management (DSM) Program with the local utility company, PG&E. The building has a highly efficient direct/indirect lighting system with translucent office panels to allow inner zones to borrow daylight from the perimeter. The building is heated by an efficient modular boiler and is cooled by natural ventilation. The BIPV system is a highly visible sustainable building feature. The demonstration of this power system by DOE FEMP, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and numerous private-sector partners illustrates that BIPV is a technically and economically valuable architectural element for designers.

The skylit entryway of the Thoreau Center for Sustainability at Presidio National Park was the first demonstration in the United States of the integration of photo-voltaics into a federal building. Laminated to the skylight glass are photovoltaic cells that produce electricity and also serve as a shading and daylighting design element. Atlantis Energy provided custom-manufactured PV panels and the system design and integration for this project. The firm was joined by construction specialists who made it possible to transform this historic building into an environmentally responsive structure.

The solar electricity generated in the PV system in the skylight offsets power provided by the utility, thereby conserving fossil fuels and reducing pollution. Converting the DC electricity to AC, the system can produce about 1300 watts during periods of full sun. The system is fully automatic and requires virtually no maintenance. Like other PV systems, it has no moving parts, so this solar generating system provides clean, quiet, dependable electricity.

The entry area into the Thoreau Center is a rectangular space with a roof sloping slightly to the east and west. The roof is constructed entirely of overhead glazing, similar to a large skylight. PV cells are laminated onto the 200 square feet of available overhead glazing to produce approximately 1.25 kW of electricity under standard operating conditions. The PV-produced DC electric power is converted to high-quality AC by a power-conditioning unit (inverter). After it is converted, the power enters the building to be consumed by the building's electrical loads.

Getting Started With Solar

Getting Started With Solar

Do we really want the one thing that gives us its resources unconditionally to suffer even more than it is suffering now? Nature, is a part of our being from the earliest human days. We respect Nature and it gives us its bounty, but in the recent past greedy money hungry corporations have made us all so destructive, so wasteful.

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