SSCAFCA Headquarters

Equiterra was commissioned by SSCAFCA (Sandoval County Arroyo Flood Control Authority) to design a new office facility to house their staff and showcase their commitment as stewards of the environment. Based in a metaphor of water movement through the landscape and the elements of flood control utilized by SSCAFCA engineers, the design evolved from a dialogue between the human appreciation of the natural world and our constant desire to control it. The building is located high on the site to maintain the natural patterns of water drainage, was oriented to harness take advantage passive solar heating and the natural cooling capacity of the omnipresent winds, and to create enjoyable outdoor gathering spaces with magnificent views to the mountains over the City of Albuquerque. Several years later, after growing their influence and needs, SSCAFCA asked Equiterra to design an addition to the already successful facility. To continue to minimize further impact on the land while enhancing and maintaining the natural ecosystem, the addition was tucked between the existing building and the close property boundary which continued to preserve the sites natural character. All disturbance zones were regenerated to maintain the character of place and habitat for native species. The new addition incorporated on site energy generation which brings the total facility to a net zero operational goal.

Project Data

Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico
SF: Phase 1:  4750, Phase 2:  4415
Date Completed: Phase 1:  2001, Phase 2: 2010

Sustainability Features

  • Net Zero energy facility operation

  • LEED Platinum certification

  • Integrated indigenous landscaping

  • 20,800 gallon cistern array for rainwater catchment and landscape irrigation

  • Passive heating and cooling

  • Daylighting along with photo cells and motion sensors, maintain light levels and reduce energy use

  • Non-toxic and low-maintenance finishes

  • Earth coupling and efficient HVAC concepts

  • 100% outside air through ERV

  • Permeable parking lot

  • Low-flow toilets and fixtures

  • Highly-efficient building envelope

  • Smart HVAC system moderates temperature with outside air

  • Operable windows and outdoor views increase employee health, satisfaction and productivity

  • Prioritization of recycled and rapidly renewable building materials

  • FSC certified lumber package (Phase 2)