November 8, 2016

John Diffenderfer Recognized with ZNE Leadership Award at Green CA Schools & Community Colleges Summit

New award recognizes California leadership in zero net energy schools

August 4, 2015

Fremont Union High School in Sunnyvale Celebrates Its New Cafeteria and Classroom Building, Continuing a Beautiful Tradition

In 2012, the Fremont Union High School District in Sunnyvale hired Aedis to upgrade a 1950s-era cafeteria building. But shortly afterward, projected skyrocketing student enrollments showed the school needed more classrooms. Aedis rapidly transformed this project into a new 32-classroom and cafeteria building.

The new building harmonizes with the surrounding campus buildings, all built in the early 1900s in the Spanish mission revival style. In May, the completed building was formally opened and celebrated. Students, teachers, principals, and others turned out for an opening ceremony. The San Jose Mercury News covered the event:

Thang at Aedis counter
March 12, 2015

Aedis Architects’ headquarters goes platinum: Earns highest LEED-CI rating for renovation of our office space

LEED Platinum logo Aedis Architects’ headquarters in San Jose earned a LEED-CI Platinum rating for our green renovation of a 1920s-era building, converting a warren of rundown tiny apartments into one of the city’s first LEED Commercial Interiors (CI) Platinum-certified projects.

Thang Do, Senior Principal at Aedis, tells the story:

How do we love green? Let us count the ways….

What makes our project sustainable?

We start with picking the location: It’s on a downtown block with a high walkability index and excellentaccess to public transportation. Our employees each are provided a free VTA Ecopass good for all local public buses and light rail.

We provide bike storage and showers for employees. In addition, we buy subscriptions to Bay Area Bike Share bicycles for employee use.

Our project is an adaptive reuse of a nearly century-old historic building. Taking a minimalist approach, we intervened as little as possible to allow the building to continue its transformation over time.

We diverted more than 90 percent of construction waste from landfills. Much of the lumber removed from the project was reused as architectural woodwork.

Our water use is more than 40 percent below baseline through the use of waterless urinals and high-efficiency fixtures.

We provide natural daylighting and access to outside views for all occupants. The mostly LED lighting system uses both occupancy and daylight sensors, so lights are never on when they don’t have to be.

Our employees enjoy a displacement ventilation system, which delivers not only very high efficiency but also high comfort, as it ejects airborne pollutants from the building to create a healthy indoor environment.

Also, 98% of wood-based products are FSC certified. All materials in the project are low emitting or non-emitting of chemical treatments.

Interestingly, platinum level certification was achieved without the use of any solar photovoltaic or power-generating measures (we are in the shadow of an adjacent high-rise building so our solar exposure is limited).

Perhaps best of all, construction cost for this complete transformation was only $86 per square foot.

We have designed several LEED-rated buildings, as well as the state’s first net-zero energy school, so it was a given that our new headquarters would also be LEED rated.

Aside from LEED rating, we hoped to create a setting that is as native to San Jose and our neighborhood as possible. For us, that meant paring down the building, using exposed functions as decor, and making it as harmonious with its outer environment as we could for now. But it’s a work in progress. Stay tuned.

Above: Our LEED-CI scorecard

Download a LEED-CI Factsheet from the U.S. Green Building Council

Blackfordmzne front_0
November 25, 2014

Aedis-designed Blackford School Net-Zero Multi-Use Building wins Green Technology leadership award at the Green California Schools Summit

The Blackford Elementary School in Campbell was awarded a 2014 Leadership Award for its progressive energy-efficient net-zero design by Green Technology Magazine and the Green Schools Summit.


Campbell Union School District plans to reduce its dependence on electricity and natural gas by 80 to 100 percent. The first projects planned to meet that goal were new multi-use buildings with zero net-energy consumption for eight of its elementary sites.The first one was constructed and opened at Blackford School in 2013. It includes a full glass facade and skylights to eliminate the need for electrical lighting during the school day. Automated windows and louvers bring in outside air to cool and heat the building.


A “cool roof,” thick installation, and a computer-controlled energy management system also lower energy consumption. A passive ventilation system keeps the building at a comfortable temperature: windows automatically open to let warm air out and the cool air in. When the temperature is warm enough to require air conditioning, the windows close automatically and the system turns on. Rooftop solar panels meet the remaining energy demand for the building and bring it to net-zero energy use, which means it produces as much energy as it uses over the course of a year.


The new building will be used primarily as a cafeteria and performance space.

Aedis principal John Diffenderfer and Campbell Union School District representative, Doug Williams, accepted the award at the Green Schools Summit in Pasadena in November.


“What is considered exemplary today will soon be considered mainstream. Going forward, the same attention needs to be paid to water use, and the safety of the materials we use in the classroom,” Diffenderfer says. “Zero-net everything!”


Read more about Blackford in this San Jose Mercury News article.

Other winners were Cerritos College for campuswide water conservation, the city of Oceanside’s Zero-Waste Schools Program, and the Team Marine program awarded for student engagement.

Aedis principal John Diffenderfer and Campbell Union School District representative, Doug Williams, accepted the award at the Green Schools Summit in Pasadena in November.

November 3, 2014

Aedis celebrates 60 years in good company

The year was 1954: Elvis Presley recorded his debut single “That’s All Right.”
The first TV dinner appeared in grocery store freezers.
The country’s first mass polio vaccines were administered.
A young Senator John Kennedy appeared on TV’s “Meet the Press.”

And the architecture firm, Allan M. Walter and Associates, was established–one of the first major architectural practices serving public and private clients in a booming area now known as Silicon Valley. Ultimately, it merged with Porter Jensen Hansen Manzagol to form Aedis Architects.

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of Aedis’s earliest beginnings, our staff conjured 1954 with swing dancing, hit music from the 1950s, bobby socks, and at least one poodle skirt for an evening of dancing and toasting six decades of great work and great clients.

Clients and other friends of the firm joined us at SoFa Market–the ground floor of the Prussia Building in San Jose’s South Fine Arts District–for the celebration, held in conjunction with San Jose’s First Fridays Art Walk.

Thanks to all who joined us to commemorate this milestone!

Click here to see more photos:

Assembly Woman Nora Campos
November 3, 2014

New building in San Jose’s Evergreen Community College District expands police facility while reducing campus energy use and using recycled water

The San Jose Evergreen Community College District’s spacious building housing both the police department and the campus’s central power plant does double duty, more than tripling police working space while introducing innovative new ultra-efficient heating and cooling systems that will lower campus operating costs.

Designed by Aedis Architects, the newly renovated and expanded building also uses recycled wastewater, reducing the need for drought-stressed freshwater supplies and making it the third largest user of reclaimed water in Santa Clara County.

Daylit open work environments replace the former cramped police offices, creating welcoming light-filled spaces.

Sharing the 13,000-square-foot building is the campus’s central energy plant, now installed with a cooling tower that uses recycled wastewater­­. A new cogeneration power system efficiently provides both clean electricity and heat, substantially cuts campus energy use by allowing its older boilers to be shut off during peak hours.

“Designing for efficiency and using recycled and environmentally low-impact materials reflect the college’s and the community’s values and just make sense all around,” says Aedis’s Joe Vela. “We can’t take energy and water for granted anymore.”

The building’s other environmentally innovative features include:

  • Recycled wastewater is used to flush low-flush toilets and urinals
  • Natural daylighting reduces the need for powered lighting
  • Low-emitting paints, materials, finishes, and adhesives that reduce chemical off-gassing
  • Super-efficient fully dimmable LED lighting fixtures
  • High-efficiency water fixtures such as ultra-low flush toilets
  • An Energy Star listed “cool roof” system that assures the sun doesn’t heat up the building during hot months
  • Motion sensors that turn off lights when rooms are not in use
  • And several other features such as minimal asphalt and low-water landscaping to reduce impacts on the site and its surroundings.

“Today’s buildings need to reflect our best knowledge and resource realities,” Vela says. “The new building’s features and its central energy plant will go a long way to save money and reduce the campus’s resource footprint.”

img_1215 sm
September 16, 2014

Fremont High School Beam Signing

Our Fremont High School Team, June Yip & Pascal Najem, signed the beam for the new Cafeteria & Classroom building yesterday.
In celebration of the new building, the beam was also signed by Board of Trustees, FUHSD and FHS staff, students, alumni, construction team, and community members after which the beam was placed into a permanent position in the new building.

Read More

08.25 SoFA Market
August 25, 2014

Silicon Valley Business Journal Highlights the SoFA Market downstairs

“Do, senior principal of , has  to a new 9,000-square-foot headquarters office in the historic building. Fellow San Jose firm NBA Architects and Metro Newspapers have rented additional space on the upper floors of the three-story building.

But Do has also stayed busy flexing his entrepreneurial and urban planning muscles with the SoFA Market — a 7,500-square-foot marketplace on the ground floor of the building that houses Aedis, which we  last year. As of this week, the first shop is officially open, and Do is targeting a grand opening later this fall ahead of the 60th Anniversary of Aedis in early October.”

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August 22, 2014

Heights Elementary School – Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Heights Elementary School originally opened it’s doors in 1953. The total floor area of the old school has 51,300 square feet of floor space.

On August 14, 2013, Pittsburg Unified School District broke ground for the new Heights Elementary School building. A year later, this Saturday, August 23, 2014, the community will celebrate the opening of the replacement building.

It is 72,958 square feet of floor space and produces over 177,600 kW of energy each year for the school using two solar sub-arrays. The design of the New Heights Elementary School was based on the design of Burbank Elementary School in Hayward.

Pictured here are our team members (left to right): Thang Do, Nick Arps (Pittsburg Unified School District), Mariana Alvarez-Parga, and Rick Navarro. You can read more about them in our Peoplesection.

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July 21, 2014

Classrooms at Bulldog Tech “invigorate” students and staff

“We love the classrooms because we feel… invigorated when we’re in there.”

Watch more about Bulldog Tech at LeyVa Middle School. Thank you, AMS, for this video.