DALLAS -- Salt Lake City’s recently dedicated Public Safety Building – built with $125 million of general obligation bonds – is one of the largest public buildings in the nation to generate as much energy as it uses, officials said.

Mayor Ralph Becker challenged GSBS Architects to design a building that would be a “net zero” power user. City officials also demanded a building that could withstand and continue to operate after a large-scale earthquake or terrorist attack.

Chad Jones, a project manager with construction manager MOCA Systems Inc., said that the 175,500 square-foot building is one of the largest net-zero buildings in the country and the nation’s only net-zero-energy public safety building.

The building features an arched canopy from the front entrance onto a public plaza that is covered with photovoltaic panels. The canopy, designed to stay clear of snow in the winter, is expected to generate 30 kilovolts of electricity.

The support columns at base of the canopy are equipped with electrical outlets. The rooftop array will generate about 310 KV of power, the architects said.

In total, the building contains approximately 30,000 square feet of solar panels, Jones said. A solar array near Salt Lake International Airport will add power to the building.

In November 2009, more than 65% of Salt Lake City voters approved the debt to fund the building, which serves as the city’s emergency operations center.

Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County are aggressively pursuing alternative energy projects.

The county last year began operating one of the first solar arrays on a convention center rooftop after a $7 million investment in the Salt Palace convention center.  The county took extraordinary steps to arrange financing, using a variety of federal credits and state incentives. County officials declared their intent to make Salt Lake County the “greenest county in the nation.”

Salt Lake City carries triple-A ratings from the three ratings agencies.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.