A new Portland-area "Net Zero" base for the Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) transmission line and substation maintenance crews features 11 Schweiss Bifold liftstrap doors on its maintenance building. Eight of these doors are 27' x 16', one other is 23.4' x 16' and the remaining two are 12' x 16' doors. (Photos by Stephen Cridland)
“The reason we used Schweiss doors was so we could use whatever cladding we wanted on the frame. We wanted to have super-thick insulation because we were going for Net Zero. We put R-30 insulated metal sandwich panels on the frame - that's the only way we could get that degree of insulation on a wide door. Also, the doors open to the outside so they don't interfere with the bridge crane or overhead infrared heating we had. Everybody involved was impressed with them.”
- Michael Shea, Architect
The new $13 million JD Ross Maintenance Headquarters facility is Bonneville Power Administration's (BPA) Southwest Washington base for transmission line and substation maintenance crews, substation operators, control technicians, and support engineers. The seven-acre site includes a 15,678 sq. ft. office building and a 24,130 sq. ft. maintenance building for storage of vehicles and equipment.
Soderstrom Architects of Portland, Oregon designed the buildings to the highest seismic resistance criteria for complete functionality in case of an earthquake for linemen to launch emergency repairs on transmission lines and substations. The HVAC and lighting systems are also seismically tested and certified to be immediately operable after a major quake.
One thing special, particularly from the architect's point of view, was this project met Net Zero Energy criteria. This means that on an annual basis, the project produces as much or more energy than it uses. It featured 11 Schweiss bifold liftstrap doors; eight of which are 27' x 16', one other is 23.4' x 16' and the remaining two are 12' x 16' doors, that went on the maintenance building fit within this Net Zero criteria. But according to Principal Architect, Michael Shea, there's more to it than meets the eye.
"It's an added bonus that the PV panels are made locally in Hillsboro by SolarWorld. Most of our power here is from hydroelectric, so the PV panels are made with solar energy too. We're producing power right there on the roof," said Shea.
Walls have R40 insulation and roofs have R60. Blower door tests and infrared cameras were used to ensure tight and fully insulated construction. Regular storefront double-glazed low E-Coating windows on the building and bifold doors were manufactured with a "bird friendly" grid etched into the glass to prevent birds from colliding with the glass surfaces. A concerted effort was made to bring daylight into the buildings via clerestory windows. These windows also help lower energy consumption and in most cases, except for maybe December, there's enough daylight resulting in no real need to run the lights. Lighting is all LED set up with occupancy sensors, due to the in and out nature of the staff.
“I think Schweiss Doors are one of the top quality doors out there. We see a lot of people servicing other manufacturers doors. They are still running old cables instead of straps; makes you wonder.”
- Jim Baysinger
Jack's Overhead Door
The office building uses radiant slab heating and cooling with DOAS ventilation and heat recovery via an ERV. The maintenance building uses infrared radiant heating in the vehicle storage and work bays and HVLS fans for cooling.
Each building has a modeled energy use index (EUI) of 30. The bifold doors deliver R30 vs. the more typical R12 or R18. The building is clad with MBCI insulted metal panels delivering R30 and wall performance was further augmented with another R30 layer inside the wall cavity. The 300 KW photovoltaic (PV) array was sized to make the project net zero on an annual basis. BPA also gets electrical energy from the Columbia River.
The corresponding bifold doors located on each side of the maintenance building offer a drive-through option. For BPA that was a big deal, they wanted one-way traffic only for safety. The maintenance building is used primarily for storage of trucks and tools, but also has showers for the workers.
"The reason we used Schweiss doors was so we could use whatever cladding we wanted on the frame. We wanted to have super-thick insulation because we were going for Net Zero. We put R-30 insulated metal sandwich panels on the frame - that's the only way we could get that degree of insulation on a wide door. Also, the doors open to the outside so they don't interfere with the bridge crane or overhead infrared heating we had. Everybody involved was impressed with them," said Shea.
Shea added that the people at Schweiss Doors were very helpful and the shop drawings and submittals were very good.
Schweiss bifold doors are nothing new to Soderstrom Architects; they have used them on numerous other projects, two of which were at an engineering building at the University of Portland and renovation at the University of Oregon Central Steam and Chiller Plant. Soderstrom has worked previously with BPA as a client, having developed a master plan for the agency to upgrade and replace its fleet of buildings in the Oregon/Washington area. Shea noted that his firm is also working on a couple of substation control houses in Washington and Oregon and BPA's future replacement program could involve 20 other projects.
The project is currently under consideration to receive Gold LEED Certification.
Jim Baysinger, who was involved with some technical service and electrician work during the installation, said the install went well. His company, Jack's Overhead Door in Portland, has been involved with installation of Schweiss doors for over 15 years.
"I think Schweiss Doors are one of the top quality doors out there. We see a lot of people servicing other manufacturers doors. They are still running old cables instead of straps; makes you wonder," said Baysinger.
The architects chose Schweiss bifold doors so they could use whatever cladding they wanted on the frame. This included super-thick R-30 insulated metal sandwich panels on the doorframe. Bifold doors were also chosen because they wouldn't interfere with the bridge crane or overhead infrared heating inside the maintenance building.
Soderstrom Architects is a Portland, Oregon based architecture, planning and interior design firm. They offer creative practical design solutions to clients in the fields of education, healthcare, civic, and commercial business. Their focus is to work within their clients' needs, to create spaces that function elegantly and efficiently. They believe the best design is an integration of function, technology, natural environment, and human interaction. These are the primary influences for thoughtful, well-crafted design solutions.
Soderstrom is a diverse and dynamic collection of architects, designers and professional staff, supporting a collaborative environment that rewards innovation, creativity and initiative. Their culture reflects our commitment to great design, client service and sustainability. They strive to make our lives challenging, interesting and rewarding.
Using a variety of CGI tools, they can assist clients in making more informed and confident decisions and they can deliver better design results. They use realistic conceptual renderings to bring their projects to life even during the early design phases. Applying these tools in a real-time "live design" process, they can also help engage community participation in design and assist with fundraising efforts. They use virtual reality tools to create immersive architectural experiences that give clients a visceral sense of the design. These help clients make decisions more quickly and with confidence, well before construction commences.
Working collaboratively with owners and users, they develop healthy building solutions that encourage personal, professional, and educational growth, balancing aesthetics with technical performance. Soderstrom designs buildings that channel desirable natural forces like daylight while resisting other forces like gravity, rain, and uncomfortable temperatures. Their projects create a visual dialogue in harmony with adjacent buildings.
Their passion drives their creativity and their creativity drives their passion for architecture. Soderstrom draws from a talented pool of passionate and creative professionals that put the client first and allow them to use the most advanced technology available.
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It was a big deal for BPA to have the bifold doors situated at both sides of the building in order to give them drive-through capabilities. They wanted one-way traffic for safety purposes.