LA Pierce O&M Building and Near-Net Zero Central Plant

Located in Woodland Hills, California, LA Pierce College is one of nine two-year public institutions within the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD). The campus has grown into a state-of-the-art learning center that offers 100 disciplines to more than 21,000 students.

Southland Engineering collaborated with the LACCD to design a 42,000 square foot operation and maintenance (O&M) facility and Near-Net Zero energy plant. The O&M facility houses everything from electrical and plumbing to offices, administrative areas, and carpentry shops.

Approach & Innovations

To meet the owner’s energy efficiency requirements, Southland Engineering designed a new central energy plant with solar arrays to provides 100 percent of the facility’s cooling and heating loads. When solar thermal energy is not available, boilers can be used to meet conditioning needs. This design resulted in the state’s first permitted Near-Net Zero facility using the design-build project delivery method.

The central plant’s renewable energy component uses a solar thermal system that features 4,800 individual evacuated tube collectors installed on the O&M facility’s roof. The design team selected effective absorption chillers that utilize the solar tubes to cool the facility by using the power of the sun. As a backup for the solar thermal system, Southland Engineering designed two 2,000 MBH boilers, and a 42,000-gallon underground solar hot water storage tank.

The Near-Net Zero design utilized solar thermal power to generate heating and cooling for the new O&M building. The infrastructure design provides future solar thermal evacuated tube collectors and expansion provisions.


Client: Los Angeles Community College District

Location: Woodland Hills, California

LEED: Gold

Square Footage: 42,000