California Air Resources Board Southern California Headquarters, Mary D. Nichols Campus


As the largest net-zero energy building in the world, California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) cutting-edge vehicle testing facility is a landmark example of California's climate policies in action. Aligning with their mission to protect public health and ecological resources through pollution reduction, CARB consolidated their five previous locations into one remarkably sustainable vehicle emissions testing and research facility that sets a new standard for energy reductions, improves performance and efficiency of operations, and provides a healthy workplace for the organization’s 450+ employees. Now, CARB operates in the largest onsite net-zero energy facility in the United States, setting up the organization to walk the talk with their own environmental impact.

Beyond reaching high-performance targets, the Design-Build team designed the three-story pinwheel-shaped building to create a beautiful destination, be a good neighbor, and provide a compelling, connected environment that fosters a strong sense of pride and place for CARB and its employees. The new headquarters features a complex program with myriad space types, including a main entrance and lobby, an employee entrance and lounge, a large auditorium, open office, conference rooms, light- and heavy-duty vehicular emissions testing wings, specialized chemistry and hydrogen laboratories, and employee amenity spaces such as an expansive breakroom, a gym, cafes, and coffee bars. The facility is sited optimally on 19 acres to encourage biking, walking, public transit, and use of zero emission vehicles to reduce transportation impacts. In prioritizing these elements, the project demonstrates it is possible to meet and exceed the State’s high bar for sustainability.