The “Parasol Building” is a glassy building that appears to float over the side of a massive foothill ledge in Tucson, Arizona. It houses a dental office, among other medical businesses, but perhaps its most interesting attribute is its solar PV canopy.
Situated on a long and narrow ‘aircraft carrier’ site, the Parasol Building straddles the hillside of a local wash in the Tucson Valley of Arizona. Composed of two bridge structures, the building literally steps lightly upon the site by cantilevering the bridge structures upon pylons and a minimal concrete base. A steel canopy holds an array of photovoltaics while shading the majority of the building. The 134-KVA solar PV system feeds back to grid and uses three 14-kW Chint Power inverters with 208Vac output and dual MPPTs. DECK monitoring is fully integrated with the inverters. The array generates energy while also providing rooftop shade. First American Solar Design developed and installed the project, with lead designer Duane Delarco working on PV, inverters and data monitoring for the project.
Other than solar, the building features additional sustainability elements including LED lighting throughout with occupancy sensors, high-performance insulated metal panels, low VOC paints and finishes, high-performance glazing, natural light harvesting, high-efficiency zone-controlled HVAC with heat re-capture, low-volume and auto-shutoff plumbing fixtures, full pipe insulation throughout, Oasis black-water treatment to feed irrigation, TPO reflective roofing, rain-screen shading of primary building facades and double-door entries to minimize heat gain/loss.