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California ISO Headquarters

California ISO

Folsom, California

$118 Million


Office, Planning, Civic, Sustainable, Graphics
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The California Independent System Operator moved into their new headquarters campus, ahead of schedule and right on budget. This was a visionary project for the non-profit ISO, which manages the electrical grid for the entire state of California. The over-arching goal in the new facility was to create a secure, innovative and energy efficient headquarters complex. A further design goal was to enhance the work environment so that California ISO becomes the “employer of choice” for engineering and technical staff in the region. 

The site is a pristine, gently rolling savannah with a glade of nearly 100 native oaks. We carefully nestled the building into the natural site, preserving the native oak trees. Generous native landscape areas were also preserved and incorporated as passive security setbacks for the facility.

The complex was designed with three separate building elements: a wing for public functions, a wing for administrative offices, and a wing housing the essential services “mission critical” operations. A striking central lobby serves as a hub, linking the building elements, providing way-finding and security screening.

To demonstrate leadership by example, the project placed an emphasis on energy efficiency and sustainability and in July 2011 earned a LEED Platinum rating  – the highest rating possible - from the US Green Building Council. The building is designed with a particular focus on achieving energy efficiency and is projected to operate nearly 40% more efficiently than California’s restrictive Title 24 standards with nearly 20% of it’s annual power consumption being supplied by renewable energy from on-site photovoltaic arrays.

Photography (c) Rien van Rijthoven.