Regenerative Retrofit: California’s First Living Building


A 1950s-era warehouse in Sacramento, California is transformed into the area’s first net zero, regenerative certified Living Building.


Regenerative Retrofit: California’s First Living Building tells the story of the Arch Nexus Sacramento building, a 1950s-era warehouse that has been transformed into California s first certified Living Building.

Located in Sacramento s bustling R Street Corridor, Arch Nexus SAC produces more energy than it consumes, relies solely on captured rainwater, and exemplifies resilient design that connects people to nature and the human community. Regenerative Retrofit chronicles a design process rooted in biophilic relationships to place and the collaboration among a stellar team of architects, engineers, builders, and artists who together created a resilient low-carbon solution to today s climate challenges.

It also highlights the critical role of high-performance occupants who, as stewards of Living Buildings, can make a significant impact on how the building performs.


Here in the City of Sacramento, we consider the Arch Nexus building a template for our future. Arch Nexus has shown that it s possible to design buildings that not only do not hurt the environment, but actively add to the health of our community by providing self-sustaining and beautiful places for people. –Mayor Darrell Steinberg, City of Sacramento

Worthy movements gain the momentum they need by the actions of a few brave, visionary individuals called to embody the cause, illuminate the pathway, and take on systemic blockages in order to bring about the desired shift. These individuals act as the living declaration that change is possible and they are fundamental to inspiring a movement. Arch Nexus and the entire team are that living declaration. They have trailblazed an LBC path in California, doing an immeasurable favor to us all. Let their efforts not be wasted; let this book act as a guide for raising the bar on expectations of your own role in reshaping the built environment in a way we now know is possible. –Kristen Hershowitz, STOK

As we embark on our own Living Building, the lessons shared by Arch Nexus SAC have been invaluable. Their building is a great achievement in regenerative design and pushes our industry toward a better future. –Marc Brune, PAE

About the Author

Juliet Grable is a freelance writer whose work covers a range of topics related to sustainability, regenerative design and construction. She has served as the Managing Editor for Green Builder Magazine, and has contributed to many national and regional publications including Earth Island Journal, Sierra, Audubon, and Home Power.