Using glass fiber reinforced concrete as the primary skin reduces thermal banking and exposure to solar heat gain in spaces that are most impacted by direct sun. Shading the exterior is essential to cooling in the hot Arizona climate. Computer analysis helped the team understand the impact on reducing solar heat gain from the glass fiber reinforced concrete shade. The results show the variation in solar radiation on the glazing and the benefit of the shade with a small sliver of the glass seeing an average of full sun.
The bridge encourages the use of mass transit by making the direct link from the Valley Metro Light Rail Station to the Novus Innovation District without crossing any roads. The user experience is enhanced by providing shade and landscape along the path including on the bridge where there is a substantial shade structure, parametrically designed to provide optimal shade and maximum visibility, and planters which are also irrigated using the Salt River Project canal water.
Optimized energy performance
One of the major goals for the building was to achieve increased levels of energy performance beyond code and the LEED prerequisite standards to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with excessive energy use. The current building design has an EUI of 104 kbtu/sf, a 20% reduction from an ASHRAE baseline. Incorporating on and off-site photovoltaic electric generation achieves a reduction of 50% in energy consumption. Initial goals set a stretch goal of 120 kbtu/sf, which was surpassed with modeled energy performance.
Sunlight computer analysis
The diagrams below show the impact of sunlight hours per day on the building to compare the effects of providing a shade canopy.