Miller Hull

Miller Hull and C.W. Driver complete nation’s first net zero energy archive facility for County of San Diego

3-12-2020 | Press Releases

The new $18.8 million building creates a multi-functional environment, meets long-term efficiency goals.


SAN DIEGO, March 12, 2020 – Today, The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP, an award-winning architecture, planning, urban and interior design firm, in partnership with C.W. Driver, a premier builder serving California since 1919, announced the completion of the County of San Diego’s new East County Office and Archives in Santee, California. The one-story, 25,000-square-foot building is slated to be the first certified Net Zero Energy archive facility in the United States and achieve LEED Gold Certification, aligning with the County’s long-term energy and sustainability goals.

Located 15 miles outside of San Diego at 10144 Mission Gorge Road, the East County Office and Archives houses several local governmental and administrative departments. This reimagined civic resource is a welcoming, highly functional building, creating a healthy work environment and supporting nearly 60 employees. Visitors can access services ranging from property records and tax collection to historical records and civil wedding ceremonies.

“The East County Office and Archives is a front door to the local government, so it’s important that the design provides a sense of civic pride and an openness to all the resources the County of San Diego has to offer,” said Miller Hull Principal Ben Dalton, design lead for the project. “The main goals for the new building were to create access and prioritize efficiency, while focusing on building user health and highlighting the area’s surrounding beauty. With C.W. Driver’s net zero energy construction expertise and support, we were able to create a building that meets all our goals and serves as a model for future buildings to help push healthy, sustainable design forward.”

The new East County Office and Archives is the second-largest project under the County of San Diego’s Net Zero Energy Portfolio Plan and sets a new benchmark for future facilities to operate at a net zero standard. The building was designed using a “reduce before you produce” approach, focused on minimizing energy usage so less renewable generation is necessary. Using a photovoltaic system that produces 252 kWh per year, the building provides enough energy for the entire site, with a five percent buffer. It also features a combination of passive systems, such as strategic building orientation to control heat gain and direct occupant views, as well as a high-efficiency envelope and hybrid mechanical systems, lighting power reductions, plug-load reductions and operational changes that will reduce energy consumption by staff and visitors. In addition, the facility uses bioswales — a vegetated stormwater management system — to reduce runoff and improve water quality.

Central to the building’s design is the County’s first archive facility. Preserving and sharing pieces of history were two equally important elements of the new East County Offices and Archives. Special care and attention was placed on the mechanical and lighting control systems and envelope to ensure a climate-controlled space suitable for delicate documents, including birth, marriage and death certificates, parcel and hand-drawn maps, as well as a letter from President Abraham Lincoln granting Land to the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia.

For more information about the East County Office and Archives or Miller Hull’s work in the San Diego area and beyond, please call (619) 220-0984 or visit

About The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP is an architecture, planning, urban and interior design firm that creates dynamic and environmentally responsible buildings, striving for a regenerative and inclusive future. The firm has a studio in Seattle and San Diego with work extending across typologies for public and private clients, including single-family, multi-family, mixed-use, civic, commercial, institutional, higher education, K-12 schools, community, cultural, hospitality, gateways, public safety and sustainable infrastructure. Widely recognized for innovative, timeless designs and a partnership-driven practice, Miller Hull has received over 350 local, regional, national and international awards for design excellence, including the AIA National Firm Award and Architect 50’s Top Firm for Sustainability. For more information, please visit

About C.W. Driver Companies
C.W. Driver Companies is a premier builder serving California since 1919. In 2019, the historic company proudly celebrated its 100-year anniversary. As a leader in general contracting and construction management services, C.W. Driver Companies are on the cutting edge across a broad spectrum of industries, including education, commercial/office, technology, healthcare/biomedical, mixed-use, assisted living, entertainment, retail, industrial and civic. Ranked in Engineering News Record’s Top 150 General Contractors and Top 100 Construction Managers, C.W. Driver Companies has the ability to build a variety of projects, from large tenant improvements to small renovations and specialized projects through its affiliates Driver SPG and Good & Roberts. C.W. Driver Companies has offices located in Los Angeles, Irvine, Rancho Cucamonga, Anaheim, San Diego, and Carlsbad. For more information, please visit Follow C.W. Driver Companies on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Media Contacts:

The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP:
Katherine Misel, Communications Specialist


C.W. Driver Companies:
Jade Terry