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Arizona National Guard Building (Phoenix, Arizona, USA)

Credits: Salt River Project

The 5,200 square-foot green architecture building is burrowed into the site to gain as much of the thermal benefit and barrier to heat as the earth can provide. This “Earthship” construction is of interlaced tires filled with compacted earth, plastered on the inside and out, providing very thick and dense walls which act as a barrier to unwanted summertime heat. A central landscaped atrium provides natural light and a cool outdoor environment to all the interior spaces, and an earth integrated cool tube system provides earth tempered air to the mechanical cooling systems. Active solar systems include photovoltaic panels for electricity generation, and solar water heaters. These systems, coupled with high efficiency, low resource demand equipment and fixtures, provide for the needs of the facility. The building won a 2001 Award for Champions of Green Government.


Arizona National Guard Eco-Building Arrays

Viewed from the northeast - the Arizona Army National Guard's ECObuilding, which incorporates an 18 kilowatt photovoltaic array, three 500 watt wind turbines, a 10 ton solar absorption chiller and several interactive electrical systems, is our finest example of very successful renewable energy projects we have been a part of. ©2009 Energystics

The Arizona Army National Guard's Ecobuilding in Phoenix is an adobe style office building that is completely independent of conventional utilities, including electricity, sewer, and municipal water. It is constructed with many recycled materials, including 5,000 used tires and windows taken from buildings previously scheduled for demolition. Other sustainable strategies include a closed-loop wastewater treatment system; passive solar design; daylighting; solar-powered evaporative cooling; and rainwater harvesting and collection. The building is powered by four 400w wind turbines and an 18 kW PV array. Each year the building saves approximately $6,750 in electricity costs and 60,000 gallons of water.

Harnessing the Sun to Cool the Air
The very source of energy that creates the hot desert climate is being used to keep desert dwellers cool, using a new technology unveiled by SRP and the Department of Emergency and Military Affairs (DEMA). A demonstration solar absorption cooling system was installed to cool the Ecobuilding, a 5,200 sq. ft. structure at the Arizona National Guard's Papago Park Military Reservation.

"We know how important air conditioning is to our way of life here in the desert and we need to solve the technological challenge so that we can make solar-powered air conditioning a reality. Our work with DEMA is a step in that direction," said SRP Associate General Manager Richard Hayslip. The solar thermal cooling system uses hot water produced by solar evacuated tubes. The cooling is provided by an absorption process that uses hot water, chemistry and a vaccum to make cold water. Cold water is piped to an air handler where cold air is blown into the Ecobuilding.

The building is a high-mass structure constructed primarily of used tires and earth that saves energy with active and passive day-lighting systems and generates energy with an 11-kilowatt solar photovoltaic (PV) array. The air conditioning system, which is powered by solar thermal collectors and an absorption chiller, is part of a research study into the feasibility of the technology. Solar cooling provides an advantage over traditional heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) by matching the highest cooling demand with the strongest summer sunshine. SRP, in partnership with DEMA, contracted with Berquam Energy Systems of Sacramento, California for the design and installation of the system. DEMA owns and operates the solar system, while maintenance is provided by SRP. SRP has contracted with a third party to investigate the actual energy savings for this system over the next year.

Article from East Valley Tribune 
Phoenix, Arizona
by Ed Taylor
28 May 2008

Solar Air Conditioning Unit Unveiled in Phoenix
A rare solar air-conditioning system was unveiled Wednesday at the Arizona National Guard Papago Park Military Reservation in Phoenix, which developers hope will lead to wider use of a technology that could drastically reduce demand for energy from the Valley’s electricity grid.

The $200,000 system at the Ecobuilding at the Papago Park complex was installed by Salt River Project and the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs. They hope to learn from the demonstration project how to make the solar air-conditioning technology less costly and more commercially viable, said Lori Singleton, SRP’s manager of sustainability initiatives and technologies.

“We had to do some redesign as we went along. So it is a project that is not commercially ready today. But … this is a great project to try to advance the technology and learn more about it,” she said. The two partners contracted with Berquam Energy Systems of Sacramento, Calif., to design and install the system, which SRP will maintain.

Solar panels provide a source of heat to drive the cooling process. Hot water is utilized by an absorption chiller to evaporate processed water under a vacuum to produce cold water. The chilled water is piped to an air handler, and cool air is blown into the building. The system will produce less than half of the total cooled air needed in the building, Singleton said.

However, with air conditioning consuming about half the electricity used by a typical home during the summer months, any technology that can reduce that power drain would save consumers substantial amounts of money, she said. “We are going to spend the next year investigating the actual energy savings of the system,” she said.

With most solar-energy systems used to produce either electricity or hot water, solar air conditioning is very rare in Arizona. Arizona Public Service operates two installations, one at Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix and the other at Cochise College in Douglas. The Lake Pleasant system, the first in the state, was installed at the Desert Outdoor Center, an education center, in April 2006. It reduces the overall electrical consumption of the building by about 25 percent, said Dawna Taylor, public information officer for the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department. Visitors who have reservations for events at the building can view the system in operation, Taylor said.

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Arizona National Guard Eco-Building Video