County of San Diego - Alpine Branch Library

Owner County of San Diego
Lead Designer Ferguson Pape Baldwin Architects
Contractor C.W. Driver
Civil Engineer Snipes-Dye Associates
Structural Engineer Hope-Amundson Structural Engineers
MEP Engineer McParlane & Associates Inc.
Design Architect, Interiors & Theming Manuel Oncina Architects Inc.
Landscape Architect Van Dyke Landscape Architects

As San Diego County’s first zero-net-energy (ZNE) building, the Alpine Library is an open book on sustainability. Judges praised the team’s efforts to identify hurdles and work collaboratively to find solutions to meet energy efficiency goals.

The roof of the 12,700-sq-ft library is equipped with a heating and cooling system powered by the sun through a photovoltaic panel system, and the exterior walls are speckled with strategically placed glazed openings to minimize solar heat gain. Other energy-saving features include extensive natural light and sensor-controlled LED fixtures, automatic electrical outlets that shut off when nearby areas are not being used and a next-generation energy system that cools and heats precise locations only when needed.

To meet strict sustainability goals, the project team selected special building materials for the new facility that in turn created a few interesting design challenges. For example, coordinating exterior wall finishes with the building envelope design became tricky when the fiber cement board used for the exterior could not be properly attached to the building envelope using the manufacturer’s recommended methods, due to the added layer of rigid insulation needed to achieve the ZNE goal.

To overcome this, the project team had several meetings and constructed mock-ups in order to find a solution that satisfied ZNE requirements as well as the architect’s design intent. The solution was a completely redesigned attachment method, which included adding a layer of furring channel—a galvanized hat-shaped framing component—for the boards to attach to instead.

Back to California Best Projects