Monterey Market

Berkeley, CA
Renovation of existing commercial building

Improved thermal conditions with roof insulation retrofit; reduced energy footprint with solar PV panels

A North Berkeley institution founded in 1961, Monterey Market is a two-generation, family-run market that supports local farmers and the community, providing fresh in-season organic produce along with other staples. Built in the 1940s, the Monterey Market building had undergone minimal improvements over the decades. Thermal issues included cold winter conditions for cashiers, who work in the uninsulated and unheated space that's open to the adjacent "produce patio" throughout the year; and elevated temperatures in summer and shoulder seasons that contributed to produce spoilage. The owners were initially convinced they required a mechanical HVAC system to help address these issues.

Beyond Efficiency was hired by project architect Arkin Tilt Architects to complete an assessment of existing conditions and provide recommendations on improving the thermal performance of the building envelope and systems. We observed that the state of the existing building envelope was significantly below current industry standards: the roof assembly had no thermal insulation and limited reflectivity properties, resulting in about 8x more conductive heat transfer and 2-3x more solar radiant heat transfer than current code-level buildings of this type. Our recommendations included:

  • Improving the building shell to bring it more in line with modern buildings, a strategy that would best address the underlying causes of the temperature-related problems by both significantly reducing unwanted heat gains in summer and minimizing heat loss in winter. We expected this approach would eliminate the need for mechanical HVAC systems, a "bandaid" solution that would be expensive to install and operate—especially given the open-door connections between the store, produce patio and storage areas.
  • Providing remotely operable skylights for natural ventilation in parallel with architectural plans to daylight the store with a roof monitor. 
  • Installing localized individually-controlled heating systems at cashier stands, such as electric radiant wall panel heaters, to provide thermal comfort for cashiers on cold days without having to heat the entire store. 

Phase I of the final improvement plans were completed in 2017, including the addition of R-30 insulation above the roof deck and a 35 kW solar photovoltaic system. The roof monitor and operable skylights have also been installed, and shoppers will enjoy daylight and ventilation once the dropped ceiling is removed in 2018.