Commercial Solar Headquarters in Central Vermont

Exterior shot of SunCommon

Event Date: 

Friday, November 17, 2017


Waterbury, Vermont


Waterbury, VT

CEU Information: 

CEUs: 3.0 AIA LU/HSW; 2.0 BPI; certificates of attendance provided to all attendees

Waterbury, Vermont

Cost: $25 for NESEA Members, $35 for Non-members

This Pro Tour will brought attendees into the recently-completed, net-positive headquarters of SunCommon, a company providing photovoltaic array financing, leasing, and installation in Vermont and New York State. Hosted by the project team from Maclay Architects and Energy Balance Inc., this half-day tour of the 15,000 square-foot project highlighted the design process and unique challenges of a commercial developer "built to suit" project while providing insights into the performance data from the building’s first year of occupancy.

Maclay Architects designed the SunCommon headquarters to be both a high-performing building in terms of energy use and a healthy, productive workplace for SunCommon employees. The central common space serves as a welcoming space for visitors, SunCommon employees, and community events.

The layout strategically positions workstations around the periphery so employees have access to views and daylight. The central conference rooms with skylights provide acoustic and visual separation to the open work spaces.

Energy Balance, Inc., provided HVAC systems conceptual design and performance specifications for air source heat pumps and energy recovery ventilation systems, as well as enclosure consulting and commissioning services.  Systems and services were designed to be economical for this developer-built project.


During the opening presentation, Maclay Architects and Energy Balance Inc., discussed lessons learned from the various stages of this project, including the strategies that were employed to design a system that uses the simplest and lowest-cost controls and HVAC options. They will detail the highly efficient mechanical system strategies, which include an air source heat pump system with individual thermostats for each head unit and ERVs controlled by occupants and CO2 censors. Attendees also learned about the strategic way the building was situated for a balance of best views for the occupants and maximizing solar capture of the roof PV array and on-site carports.

Site Details

  • 15,000 sq. ft. office and warehouse building
  • 180 kW roof-top and carport PV arrays, offsetting approximately 200% of demand
  • Surplus energy generated onsite supplies a Community Solar Array (CSA) and public electric vehicle charging stations
  • R60 roof, R40 walls, R20 below grade envelope insulation
  • Triple-glazed windows with a solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC) of 0.35
  • Air Infiltration of 0.059 cfm50/sf six sided surface area (office only) – nearly PHIUS+ compliant!
  • Steel structure wrapped with insulated framed walls for thermal bridge free construction
  • Shed designed to maximize solar capture


12:30 PM

Doors open, registration and networking

1:00 PM

Welcome by NESEA

1:10 PM

Overview from project team

2:00 PM

Tour begins: attendees break into groups to rotate through content-specific stations

3:50 PM

Group reconvenes & heads back to meeting point for reception

4:15 PM

Presentation, Q&A with members of project team

5:00 PM

Event concludes


2024 Pro Tour Series Sponsors:

Presenting Sponsor


Event Sponsors