Brian Stern is an energy analyst with Glumac, A Tetra Tech Company, who supports firm-wide sustainable and high-performance MEP Engineering and building design. His work improves building performance from initial concept all the way through operation. Using energy modeling software, he develops holistic building energy efficiency strategies appropriate to local environmental conditions. Brian’s focus spans all market sectors, having experience with the healthcare, commercial, higher education, institutional, residential, hospitality, and manufacturing industries. He is a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, with a Bachelors of Science in Mechanical Engineering.
What is the sustainable building design story of the Wilshire Grand?
The Wilshire Grand is really a holistically sustainable building. I think being such an impactful building on the Los Angeles skyline, the owners and AC Martin—the architect—wanted to make sure that the building had a strong, sustainability story and was really high performance.
We spent a lot of time during design making sure we could reduce the building’s impact on the environment, and the environment’s impact on the building. As Los Angeles’ climate is primarily cooling-driven—with a lot of bright, sunny days—reducing solar loads on the building as much as possible can make a major difference on energy efficiency. Our energy analysts and MEP engineers conducted building shading studies to determine solar loads for different sun positions on an average day and worked with AC Martin on optimizing the window-to-wall ratio, which is a reflection of what percentage of the building envelope—or facade—is made up of windows versus the amount made up of other constructed material. We also designed a really high-performance glazing for the curtain wall system.
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The building also features a 550,000-gallon thermal energy storage tank that produces chilled water used in building conditioning. This system allows for the production of chilled water more efficiently at night and prepares the building to cool itself without drawing from city infrastructure during peak periods of the day, which helps to reduce the strain and impact on the grid. It also has a strong financial return for the owners, as the energy used to cool the building is greatly reduced.
The building also has a reclaimed water system that collects stormwater and condensate to replenish its cooling towers. Cooling towers use a ton of water—and being in Southern California and in a drought, this was extremely important to reduce the building’s impact.
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