Sunlight is a resource as well as a challenge, especially in equatorial locations. An extensive photovoltaic array enables the US Embassy to take advantage of Burundi's year-round long days. The compound annually yields over 250,000 kWh of emissions-free power from 960 solar panels.
Solar gain can, however, increase building electric load, especially when average daily temperatures rise above 85°F. Among multiple strategies for optimizing energy performance, the design optimizes insulation and uses sunshades and canopies to mitigate solar gain. The LEED Gold design ultimately reduced energy consumption by 52% relative to the ASHRAE baseline.