Design Challenge

SunCommon, a leading Vermont based solar company, selected Maclay Architects to design a net positive energy building and an exemplary healthy workplace that embodies their mission, while celebrating their fun culture and unique brand. SunCommon selected their new building site to be more visible and centrally located to both its employee and customer bases.


To achieve net positive energy and showcase the use of solar energy a shed roof building form was selected early in the design process. This form maximizes the roof area for photovoltaics while cost effectively highlighting them for passers-by. To minimize energy loads a super-insulated and air-tight building envelope was coupled with highly efficient air source heat pump mechanical system. The roof includes a community solar array (CSA) that supplies more than twice as much power as SunCommon needs on site. Excess power is sold to other users in the CSA. The building is sited to maximize energy conservation and production and provide access to daylight and views with connection to the outdoors. A neighborhood based workplace concept creates a dynamic workplace for SunCommon employees.


The building’s layout positions workstations around the periphery so employees have access to views and daylight. The central conference rooms with skylights provide acoustic separation between departments to create both visual and audible privacy.

Project Details


Waterbury, VT




15,000 sf
(office and warehouse)


Net Positive

Energy Intensity:

21.5 kBTU/sf-yr
(actual office and warehouse)
0 kBTU/sf-yr
(w/ renewables)

Air Infiltration:

0.09 cfm50/sf
(office only)

Solar PV Array Size:

180 kW


Efficiency Vermont Merit Award 2017