Miller Hull

East County Office & Archives

Santee, CA
Santee: home to the first Net Zero Energy archive facility in the United States
Client County of San Diego
Certifications Pursuing Net Zero Energy and LEED Gold Certification
Size 25,000 SF
Completion 2019


The new East County Office and Archives is a valuable public resource and amenity for the County of San Diego. The building combines several governmental and administrative departments that provides services from property records and tax collecting, to historical records and civil wedding ceremonies.

Mandated by the County of San Diego, the environmentally responsible building is slated to be the first certified Net Zero archive facility in the United States and LEED Gold Certified, utilizing a 140-kW photovoltaic array that provides enough energy for the entire building with a 10 percent buffer for future growth. With such stringent sustainability and resiliency goals in mind, our design team limited the hard-wearing palette (structure as finish) and maximized daylighting (reduced lighting needs) and sun-control (reduced cooling loads).

The tightly climate-controlled archival spaces house unique documents, including hand drawn maps, birth, marriage and death certificates, and deeds and parcel maps from the 1800s.

Using a design-build delivery method, we are partnered with C.W. Driver. The one-story building utilizes tilt-up concrete panels and open web steel joists for fast construction and column-free spaces that house open offices, a counter for public services and the archival vault. Key features include a public street under the butterfly roof and a PV-clad shading structure in the parking lot that incentivizes fuel-efficient vehicles. Other notable features of the facility are the two on-site bioswales used for stormwater management, a critical component due to the proximity to the San Diego River and its flood plain.

Project Team

Architect: The Miller Hull Partnership, LLP
Contractor: C.W. Driver
Civil Engineer: Latitude 33 Planning & Engineering
Structural Engineer: Coffman Engineers
Mechanical Engineer: Interface Engineering
Electrical Engineer: Elen Consulting
Landscape: Schmidt Design Group