Recently compiled data proves conclusively that Salt Lake City's new Public Safety Building will use no more energy than it creates. In fact, since the building was occupied in 2013, efforts by Salt Lake City with support from GSBS Architects, have reduced the building’s measured energy consumption to match, and even exceed, levels predicted during design.
According to Garth Shaw, Director of Sustainability forGSBS Architects, fine tuning improvements have elevated the building’s energy performance to a level matched by none. The building now scores 100 with the nationally-recognized energy benchmarking tool Energy Star. “This score indicates that no other building in its class consume less energy,” he said. “The building’s energy footprint has also been reduced to a level where it is now on track to meet the city’s ultimate goal of an energy (and carbon) neutral project.”
• The building has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 48%;
• Energy costs have been reduced by 36%; and
• The average building of this type uses 266% more energy.
Not only has the building achieved record-breaking energy efficiency, it is being hailed by Urban Lands Magazine (Feb. 2017) in its world-wide list of 10 outstanding government buildings. The article identifies design features that balance significant security elements (that tend to shut out the public) with a transparency in aesthetic and experience that promote interaction and visitor engagement. The project’s ability to function after a 7.5 magnitude earthquake, resist significant domestic terror threats, and produce enough renewable energy each year to offset its consumption also secured its position on Urban Land magazine’s list.
Kevin Miller, President of GSBS Architects, said the team of architects designed it to compliment the area of downtown Salt Lake City which is home to the historic City and County Building, the State Courts Building and Salt Lake City Public Library. “A campus feeling was requested and we created welcoming outdoor space to accommodate large public events which spill over several blocks,” Miller said.
The approximately $80 million Public Safety Building, home to the fire and police departments, functions as the nerve center for addressing all citywide emergencies. It even anticipates a 7.5 seismic event that is predicted to hit Utah's highly populated Wasatch Front. This requires the building to not only be designed to immediate occupancy seismic standards in order to continue to operate through the seismic event, but it is able to do so separately from the electrical grid.