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bright orange building erected at a deep angle with the title West Mec NEX building
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DLR Group Receives Certification for Zero Energy Building

Peter Rutti

A DLR Group-designed building is the first certified zero energy education facility in Arizona. The Next Energy eXperience, aka NEX, building on the Western Maricopa Education Center’s Southwest Campus earned zero energy certification by the International Living Future Institute. ILFI recognizes projects demonstrating zero energy performance, with the integrity of third-party performance certification.

The NEX building consists of 8,675 SF of multipurpose space for use by the school and community. As the only assembly space for the entire district to hold 400 people, the NEX building is heavily used year-round throughout the day and evening. To complete the certification process, DLR Group submitted 12 months of verified data, confirming that the building goes beyond the zero-energy level by producing energy at 108% of what it consumes. Besides district use for instruction and assembly, the building is also accessible by the neighboring Palo Verde Nuclear Power Plant, Arizona Public Service (utility company), Estrella Mountain Community College, and many other community organizations. McCarthy Building Companies was the CMAR general contractor on the project.

“This is such an honor. We are certainly seen out here and recognized as a point of pride by this community,” said West-MEC Superintendent Greg Donovan.

“Thanks to West-MEC’s forward-thinking vision and the exceptional design strategies put forth by DLR Group, the project team successfully completed this high-performing building that is providing the community with benefits beyond career development programs to power production. This is remarkable,” said Steve Poulin, senior vice president of operations for McCarthy Southwest region’s education group.

West-MEC is a unique public school district that offers specific career and technical education to more than 37,000 students from 48 Phoenix area high schools. DLR Group has provide an array of integrated design services to deliver facilities on multiple West-MEC campuses.

DLR Group presented the news and certification at the West-MEC Governing Board meeting on November 4, 2020.

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