Utah Clean Energy’s new Climate Innovation Center: In Pictures

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Utah Clean Energy, a local nonprofit created to promote clean energy policy, renewable energy, and energy efficiency recently (re)constructed their new headquarters. Located at 215 S 400 E, the new Climate Innovation Center aims to be a model for other builders looking to incorporate clean energy technology into their projects.

Photos by Devin Zander

Designed by Blalock & Partners and built by Okland Construction, this building originally started as a single-story cinderblock commercial structure built in 1955. It has been retrofitted into a two-story office building. To reduce embodied carbon, the builders maintained the existing cinderblock walls and steel ceiling beams. Cross-laminated timber is used for the roof, and glulam beams are used to support the second floor and roof. Reclaimed wood and recycled materials are used throughout the building.

In addition to the sustainable building materials used, the building aims to be net-zero, with onsite power generation and storage, and all-electric appliances for heating, cooling, and cooking. Along with rooftop solar and battery storage, the building also has e-bike charging, as well as six parking stalls equipped with EV chargers. The building is pursuing a Zero Energy certification from the International Living Future Institute. It is a performance based certification that may be awarded after a year’s worth of tracking efficiency metrics.

Original structure. Courtesy Apple Maps.
First floor under construction. Courtesy Utah Clean Energy.
Second floor under construction. Courtesy Utah Clean Energy.

Photos by Devin Zander

While it makes sense for Utah Clean Energy to invest in its new headquarters as a demonstration project, adaptive reuse of existing structures frequently loses out to demolition and new construction.

On the policy front, at its May 30 work session the Salt Lake City Council was briefed on a zoning text amendment that would incentivize the adaptive reuse of buildings such as churches, schools, or other structures deemed culturally significant. There was a previous adaptive reuse amendment passed, but it was limited to buildings 7,000 square feet and larger. The new amendment removes the minimum square footage requirement and permits additional uses including residential.

Another text amendment, called ‘Preservation of a Principal Building,’ seeks to incentivize the preservation of any structure that is at least fifty years old, with incentives such as reduced parking, minimum lot sizes, setbacks, and additional height (with design review) in some zones. A vote on the proposed amendments will be held on a future date.

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