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JD Ross Maintenance Headquarters

‘Net Zero’ Bonneville Power Project Features 11 Bifold Doors From Schweiss Doors

The new $13 million JD Ross Maintenance Headquarters facility in Vancouver, WA, is Bonneville Power Administration’s (BPA) Southwest Washington base for transmission line for substation maintenance crews, substation operators, control technicians and support engineers. The seven-acre site includes a 15,678-square-foot office building and a 24,130-square-foot maintenance building.

Soderstrom Architects of Portland, OR designed the buildings to the highest seismic resistance criteria for complete functionality during an earthquake for linemen to launch emergency repairs on transmission lines and substations. The HVAC and lighting systems are also seismically tested and certified to be immediately operable after a major quake.

One thing special, especially from the architect’s point of view, was this project met Net Zero Energy criteria. On an annual basis, the facility produces as much or more energy than it uses. It features 11 Schweiss Doors bifold liftstrap doors, including eight that measure 27 feet wide by 16 feet high, while another measures 23 feet, 4 inches wide by 16 feet high. The final two doors installed on the maintenance building measure 12 feet wide by 16 feet high and fit within the Net Zero criteria. The project also is under consideration to receive LEED Gold certification.

According to Michael Shea, principal architect, there’s more to the project than meets the eye.

“It’s an added bonus that the PV panels are made locally in Hillsboro by SolarWorld, he says. “Most of our power here is from the hydroelectric, so the PV panels are made with solar energy, too. We’re producing power right there on the roof!”

The walls have R40 insulation and the roofs have R60. Blower door tests and infrared cameras were used to ensure tight and fully insulated construction. Regular storefront double-sized low E-coating windows on the building and bifold doors were manufactured with a “bird friendly” grid etched into the glass to prevent birds from colliding with the glass surfaces. A concerted effort was made to bring daylight into the buildings via clerestory windows. These windows also help lower energy consumption and, in most cases, except for maybe December, there’s enough daylight resulting in no real need to run the lights. LED lighting with occupancy sensors is employed throughout the building.

The office building uses radiant slab heating and cooling with a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS) ventilation and heat recovery via an energy recovery ventilator (ERV). The maintenance building uses infrared radiant heating in the vehicle storage and work bays and high-volume, low-speed (HVLS) fans for cooling.

Each building has a modeled energy use index (EUI) of 30. The bifold doors deliver R30 versus the more typical R12 or R18. The building is clad with MBCI insulated metal panels delivering R30. The wall performance was augmented with another R30 layer inside the wall cavity. The 300 KW photovoltaic (PV) array was sized to make the project Net Zero on an annual basis. BPA also gets electrical energy from the Columbia River.

The bifold doors located on each side of the maintenance building offer a drive-through option. BPA wanted one-way driving because it’s safer. The maintenance building is used primarily for storage of trucks and tools, but also has showers for the workers.

“The reason we used Schweiss doors was so we could use whatever cladding we wanted on the frame,” Shea says. “We wanted to have super-thick insulation because we were going for Net Zero. We put the R30 insulated metal sandwich panels on the frame … that’s the only way we could get that degree of insulation on the wide door. Also, the doors open to the outside so they don’t interfere with the bridge crane or overhead infrared heating. Everybody involved was impressed with them.”

Schweiss bifold doors are nothing new to Soderstrom Architects. They have been used on numerous projects, two of which were at an engineering building at the University of Portland and renovation at the University of Oregon Central steam and chipper plant. Soderstrom previously worked with BPA, having developed a master plan for the agency to upgrade and replace its fleet of buildings in the Oregon/Washington area. Shea noted his firm is working on a couple of substation control houses in Washington and Oregon and BPA’s future replacement program could involve 20 other projects.

“I think Schweiss Doors makes one of the top-quality doors out there,” says Jim Baysinger, owner of installing company Jack’s Overhead Door of Portland, an installer of Schweiss doors for 15 years. “We see a lot of people servicing other manufacturers' doors. They are still running old cables instead of straps. Makes you wonder.”

About Schweiss Doors

Schweiss-logoSchweiss Doors is the premier manufacturer of hydraulic and bifold liftstrap doors. Doors are custom made to any size for any type of new or existing building for architects and builders determined to do amazing things with their buildings, including the doors. Schweiss also offers a cable to liftstrap conversion package. To learn more, visit or

And to learn about Schweiss' new Build Your Own Door Kit, which gives customers the plans and essential components to build their own Schweiss Doors, visit

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