The Packard Foundation

Earlier this month, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation moved into their new headquarters that we at EHDD designed with them over the past five years (for more information, click here: Please watch the video to take a virtual tour of the building.

A year from now we all expect to be able to proclaim this nearly 50,000 sf LEED® Platinum building to be the largest net zero energy private office building in California. For the Foundation this is the culmination of a three-decade old journey to develop an industry-leading project that would reflect their work and values in their Los Altos, California home. In 1999 they pioneered the concept (along with architecture firm BNIM) of a Living Building, leading an indirect line to today’s Living Building Challenge. Thirteen years later, they are now showing how we can all enjoy a higher quality of life while meeting the greenhouse gas targets enacted into law in California under AB32, the most ambitious climate change legislation passed to date in the United States.

I spent a good part of the last five years working with the Foundation as EHDD’s project manager and will continue my working relationship over the next year during what may prove to be the most innovative aspect of the project: a “post-occupancy” phase where the project design and commissioning team sticks around to track performance, diagnose and remedy issues that arise, and work with building users to make sure they are getting the most out of their building. The Foundation understands that net zero energy is a living goal that requires ongoing engagement by the entire project team including designers, owners, operators and users, and that the fulfillment of this goal extends far beyond opening day.

The ultimate goal of this project is to demonstrate a replicable model for not only sustainable office buildings but also sustainable organizations. This means that things beyond the building – including transportation, purchasing, and community, for example – are as essential as the technical aspects of the design. Over the next year I’ll be blogging about what we learn about how this groundbreaking project works and how this leading organization, the Packard Foundation, is living its mission of environmental restoration and protection with its unprecedented commitment.

Brad Jacobson
Senior Associate, AIA, LEED® AP BD+C