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NEWS | Sept. 2, 2020

California National Guard prepares to go green

By Lauren Hall California National Guard

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Imagine a 238,000 square-foot building with some of the most advanced sustainable features available, including a two-megawatt solar panel array covering 700 parking spaces. Shaded parking, anyone?

It gets better. The solar panels, a small-scale production power plant, generate enough energy to heat and cool the entire main building. They will also produce the energy for interior lighting during the day, with Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) only providing the energy at night or when the solar panels aren't producing energy.

Welcome to the soon-to-be-completed California Military Department's Consolidated Headquarters Complex.

The complex is on track to use zero – that's right zero – net energy, and will produce as much energy from its solar energy system as it uses.

"In pursuit of our zero net energy program, we have a modern energy-efficient radiant heating and cooling hydronics system," said Col. Ed Landrith, branch chief for construction and engineering services. "Part of that is that the floors are concrete slabs that have tubes running through them that can run either hot water or cold water so that we maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the building."

During the summer when cold water runs through the tubes, the concrete will be cool to the touch. In winter, when warm water runs through the tubes, the concrete will be warm.

"It's super energy-efficient and keeps the building in kind of a middle range, and you don't have to do as much with forced air conditioning or heating, which is very expensive and very inefficient," said Landrith.

In addition to all of the functions and personnel in the existing headquarters building, the Military Department's United States Property and Fiscal Office (USPFO), State Aviation Office (SAO), Headquarters Army National Guard, the State Property Office and the Environmental Branch will also relocate to the new Consolidated Headquarters Complex next summer. The existing 110,000 square-foot building isn't able to accommodate all of the additional personnel.

Safety and force protection also played a part in the decision to build a new headquarters. The current building doesn't meet military antiterrorism force protection standards. The new facility will meet all current standards, including a perimeter fence and identification checkpoint, and is structurally stronger.

If this all sounds good, there's more. The new facility, which also boasts energy-efficient windows and modern insulation, is being built to California's sustainable construction standards. CALGreen is California's statewide "green" building code requiring new buildings to reduce negative environmental impact, use sustainable construction practices in planning and design, and comply with energy efficiency standards regulated by the California Energy Commission.

The new Consolidated Headquarters Complex, located in Rancho Cordova not far from current headquarters, is also on track to achieve the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold standard certificate.

The new facility will feature one main entry point, two elevators instead of one currently, a media briefing room, an indoor theater and an outdoor amphitheater. The entire cost of the project, including the cost of the land, engineering work and construction, is $155 million.

The finished complex will consist of four buildings: the main headquarters, the Emergency Operations Center, an access control point and a warehouse. The project is 60% complete, with an anticipated completion date of next summer.