Solar Powered Architecture Firm
"If our objective is to design buildings that enhance the community, we have to exemplify what is possible,” says Loring Sagan, co-owner of Sagan Piechota Architecture in Hayes Valley. “We have to be the instigators and promoters of integrated, holistic, long-term thinking.”
Sagan Piechota has been solar powered for over two years with solar electricity and solar hot water. The system also powers Blue Bottle Coffee and a furniture shop on the first floor of the building. Busy with other projects and the redesign of their office, Sagan relied on Borrego Solar to design the 7.5 kW solar electric system, apply for State rebates and building permits, and install the solar panels, requiring minimal involvement by Sagan or partner Daniel Piechota.
The system cost $38,000 after rebates, and the office's monthly electric bills are now just a little more than half as much as they used to be. Borrego offered them a flexible payment plan to allow them to finance the panels themselves.
In addition, Sagan and Piechota bought and installed a solar hot water system themselves when they first moved into their building. "I think San Francisco should be the greenest city in the country. It's just a matter of intention,” said Sagan, explaining that his choice to install solar electric panels was easy.
Sagan Piechota works closely with Timmons Design Engineers to include solar energy, geothermal, and other green practices into their
architectural design projects. Sagan pointed to the large windows and glass doors at either end of Sagan Piechota's office. Daylight provides most of the lighting for the building. An in-floor heating system with high thermal mass helps to keep the building warm on cold days. On hot days, Sagan says, he can open windows and doors to control air circulation and cool the building.
"Responsibility and design, long-term it's a no-brainer.”