Limoneira Solar Project and Visitor Center designed by Interactive Resources was awarded a LEED Gold certification, making it the first private sector LEED Gold project in Ventura County
Richmond CA, January 25, 2010 -Richmond architecture and engineering firm Interactive Resources received notice from the U.S. Green Building Council that the Limoneira Solar Project and Visitor Center designed by Interactive Resources was awarded a LEED Gold certification, making it the first private sector LEED Gold project in Ventura County.
"The Visitor Center is an extremely simple and utilitarian structure that combines the functional role of sheltering banks of electrical switchgear and inverters with the interpretive role of a viewing platform with exhibits for visitors to see and understand how sustainable energy and agriculture join together to preserve rural land, protect jobs and reduce greenhouse gases," said Tom Butt, FAIA, LEED AP, President of Interactive Resources. "Besides the viewing platform, it includes a restroom and an office for monitoring and control equipment."
Limoneira is a 115-year-old California agricultural icon with trademarks that include Sunkist Growers, Fruit Growers Supply and Diamond Walnut. It is a global company whose mission is to preserve and promote its tradition, heritage and legacy in agriculture, community development and stewardship to maximize value for its shareholders. With prime agricultural land and operations throughout California, the company has over 7,000 acres in agricultural production of lemons, avocados, oranges, specialty citrus, pistachios, pluots and cherries.
Modern fruit production requires massive cold storage warehouses, and that requires a lot of expensive electricity, the cost of which is both volatile and uncertain. Limoneira constructed a 1 megawatt solar photovoltaic generator next to its Santa Paula processing and storage facility, which accounts for over a third of the company's total energy usage, to insure long term stability in electrical costs. The Visitor Center was incorporated to showcase the project as a part of Limoneira's award-winning commitment to sustainability and its active visitor program.
In 2009, Limoneira was recognized with the Ventura County Board of Supervisors - Climate Change Action Award for its leadership in the use of clean, renewable energy sources. Supervisor Kathy Long, who was responsible for nominating Limoneira in the Agricultural Industry category, said "Limoneira is an amazing innovator. It's a model to our county, state, nation and the world of how to reduce carbon emissions and do business in a sustainable fashion."
The Visitor Center incorporates numerous sustainable design elements that include a green roof (both a "cool" roof and a "green" planted roof), drought-tolerant landscaping, onsite disposal of both storm water and sanitary sewage, pervious concrete paving, daylighting, operable windows, low water use plumbing fixtures, energy-efficient lighting and recycled materials.
The associated solar array provides electrical power far beyond what the Visitor Center requires. The solar array covers 5-½ acres, and unlike typical ground-mounted arrays in California, the ground below the array has been planted with native grasses and wildflowers and miniature sheep will be used to graze it.
You can monitor the status of the solar system in real time at the following link: http://www.limoneira.com/Santa-Paula_solar_orchard.html.
To date, the system has eliminated nearly 3 million pounds (1,350 metric tons) of greenhouse gases.
The Limoneira Project was designed in collaboration with Interactive Resources, who was the architect of record and structural engineer, Winzler & Kelly - mechanical engineering and commissioning, Blue Oak Energy - electrical engineering and Suding Design Landscape Architects, Inc. - landscape design. The project developer was Perpetual Power, LLC and the contractor was Bleyco Incorporated. The project manager was Tom Butt, FAIA, LEED AP and the structural engineer of record, Paul Westermann, PE of Interactive Resources.
For More Information, Contact
Tom Butt, FAIA, LEED AP
Paul Westermann, PE, SE
Principal Structural Engineer