The project team was faced with navigating the very technical, controlled, and energy-intensive conditions required of an archive, including a narrow range of temperature, humidity, and pollutant conditions.

At a Glance

County of San Diego
Santee, CA
Government, Government & Education
25,000 SF
The Miller Hull Partnership (Architect)C.W. Driver Companies (General Contractor)
Zero Energy (ILFI)LEED New Construction, v4 (Gold)
  • Energy Modeling
  • Measurement & Verification (M&V)
  • Occupant Training

The Challenge

Provide a path to ZNE performance through energy modeling, measurement and verification, and occupant training on a rapid design-build schedule while navigating the very technical, controlled, and energy-intensive conditions required of an archive—including a narrow range of temperature, humidity, and pollutant conditions.

  • Assure the County that ZNE performance was possible, then help the design and construction teams identify accessible practices and products to achieve it
  • Ensure operational performance early on by bringing together all the key players in the measurement and verification process to deliver a critical, properly functioning monitoring system
  • Assist the design team with a whole-building energy model to help the project achieve ZNE in the most efficient way possible
“Creating a Zero Net Energy building with the strict and energy-intensive requirements of an archive facility was a highly technical and first-of-its-kind challenge for the County. The Stok team brought unparalleled technical energy expertise, the know-how to work within financial constraints, and educational capabilities to help the County achieve our ambitious ZNE and LEED Gold targets. Simply said, the County of San Diego Energy and Sustainability Program wouldn’t be where it is today without Stok.”

By the Numbers

Biofiltration basins that responsibly manage stormwater, reduce risk of flooding, and naturally filter water
Waste reduction of construction waste diverted from landfill, equivalent to 196 tons of recycled construction waste
Buffer for future growth, as a result of 253,200 kWh/year photovoltaic array mounted on building roof and parking lot canopy to offset remaining energy demand

The Solution


The East County Office and Archives is the first Zero Energy archive facility in the US certified by the International Living Future Institute and achieved its targeted LEED v4 Gold certification. Combining several governmental and administrative departments, the new building is a valuable public resource and amenity for the City of Santee and a testament to the County of San Diego’s commitment to a high performance real estate portfolio for the benefit of its residents.


Large windows capture daylight while a large overhanging south roof controls glare and excess heat gain. There’s a high degree of control over lighting and plug loads through daylight sensors, LED fixtures, and occupancy sensors, which helps lower the overall impact of small loads at scale. Stok implemented a high-efficiency variable refrigerant flow system (VRF) to heat and cool the building, an automation system displays how the building is performing in real time and provides opportunity to fine-tune for optimal performance throughout the building’s life span.

Other key sustainability features include:

  • Water conservation – low flow fixtures and native, drought-tolerant landscaping for hot Santee climate
  • Alternative transportation – incentives and charging stations for electric vehicles, bike racks and lockers for short- and long-term storage, and direct connections to the local public transit system
  • Healthy work environment – healthy materials to eliminate toxins and reduce VOCs for better air quality, as well as ample daylighting and outdoor paths for an escape into nature


Stok provided measurement and verification services until the facility’s ZNE performance was verified. Stok is also providing training for building occupants to understand how the building operates and the intent behind the ambitious performance targets, serving as an opportunity for improved engagement and feedback for County employees. 

For its exceptional performance, the East County Office and Archives received the 2020 Government/ Public Building Award of Merit from Engineering News Record California. The project also received a 2020 Orchid Award for Architecture from the San Diego Architectural Foundation.


Photo Credit: Chipper Hatter

Project Leadership

Sandy Houck