3045 Park Blvd. is a Class A all-electric office building in Palo Alto, California. It is designed to be as sustainable as possible. The property has explored opportunities to support the site conditions and the neighborhood to provide the occupants with several sustainable options. The property is LEED Gold certified under LEED V4. The building is all-electric with no natural gas, and sources its energy from 100% renewable resources available in Palo Alto. The building is designed to be energy efficient and water efficient. It exceeds Title 24 2016 energy compliance requirements by 12%. The property helps tenants reduce their carbon footprint in several ways.
HEALTHY BUILDING FEATURES
INTEGRATED DESIGN PROCESS
Sustainable design process starts from the conceptual design stage and covers the architectural design, MEP systems design, siteworks, construction practices and operations. Hence it requires coordination with the various stakeholders from the early design stage to explore opportunities in the design. More information on Integrated Design Process can be found here.
As a first step, a conceptual energy model was developed at the conceptual design stage to explore opportunities to save energy through the architectural design. This helped inform the team on the glass selection process, the glazing area, the depths of the overhangs and insulation R value.
An Owners Project Requirements was developed in the beginning that documents the owner's requirements and sustainability goals for the project. This acted as the basis for developing the MEP design.
A LEED charrette and energy analysis kickoff involving all the stakeholders were conducted before the schematic design stage, allowing all disciplines to provide their inputs on the sustainability goals of the project. It also provided the team a direction in developing the design to satisfy the sustainability goals of the project.
Coordination between various disciplines continued throughout the design process and the construction phase to ensure that the sustainability goals are met.
Transportation sector accounts for 45% of GHG emissions in the world, and 50% of GHG emissions in California. More facts on transportation sector's contribution towards GHG emissions are here. The property allows the occupants to explore more sustainable options of commuting.
Public Transportation Access: The property is within 0.4 miles of the Caltrain station. This reduces the necessity for single occupant vehicle usage by the occupants.
Bikes: Park Boulevard is a major bike route, and the bike network connects to the Caltrain station. Caltrain allows commuters to carry bikes in the trains. The building supports the public transport access by providing 12 long term bike storage facilities and 4 bike racks for short term use. The bike facilities are provided close to the main entrance of the building. Additionally, two changing rooms are provided for the occupants' convenience.
Clean Air Vehicles: The building has provided 14 preferred parking spaces for clean air vehicles and carpools accounting to 12% of the total parking capacity of 116. Additionally, it has provided 8 parking stalls served by electric vehicle charging ports accounting to 6% of the parking capacity. An additional 28 parking stalls are served by conduit to be "EV ready" and can be converted to be served by electric charging stations in the future.
Given the recent drought in California, the property has taken several steps to conserve water.
The property uses low flow water fixtures that can save more than 35% over the EPACT baseline.
California native planting species were maximized in the landscaping. Consequently, they require little or no irrigation. Moreover, much of the landscape is served by drip irrigation that has an efficiency of over 80%, compared to a sprinkler systems that has an efficiency of 65%.
Water meters are installed in the building that can measure the total potable water use in the building, irrigation water use, and hot water use.
ALL-ELECTRIC BUILDING & ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Energy efficiency and carbon footprint reduction is the need of the hour. 3045 Park Blvd. is an energy efficient, all-electric building that benefits the occupants in the following ways:
Lower utility bills
Lower dependence on fossil fuels. Consequently, lower GHG emissions
Energy independence and economy: Lower usage of fossil fuels leads to availability of fossil fuels for uses that cannot depend on renewable energy. For example, currently it is not possible to operate manufacturing industries only on renewable energy.
The building is designed to be energy efficient in several ways.
It is an all-electric building. All-electric buildings in California have a lower carbon footprint than buildings that use natural gas. This is because, much of the electricity produced in California, especially the one supplied by City of Palo Alto is sourced from renewable sources.
VRF Systems for space conditioning
The mechanical systems allow demand control ventilation in the future and has an outdoor air monitoring device.
LEDs for lighting: LEDs have an efficiency of and a life of 25,000 hours. LEDs have no mercury content and consequently have limited environmental impact after disposal.
Energy meters: Meters have been installed to measure total building energy use, base building electricity use and tenant electricity use. Meters provide hourly data that are remotely accessible and can be stored for 36 months. This enables the facility manager to get a 3 year-history of the building energy use and detect issues with system performance.
HEALTHY BUILDING MATERIALS WITH LOW IMPACT
Building materials have a significant impact on the lifecycle impact of the building and the health of the occupant. Several product certifications recognized by USGBC acts as a proof of the materials lifecycle performance.
A recognized certification is a Type III third party certified Environmental Product Declaration.
Certifications that act as proof of the materials health impacts are Health Product Declarations, Living Building Challenge's Declare Label, GreenScreen, etc. Also, certifications of benchmarks that validate the VOC content and emissions of materials include CDPH emission testing standards, SCAQMD 1168, SCAQMD 1113, and CARB 2007.
SUSTAINABLE CONSTRUCTION PRACTICES
Construction practices also have an environmental impact. On this regard the construction team followed several best management practices on site. These include the following:
Soil erosion control includes placing polyethylene covers over stockpiled soil and sand prior to storms. Soil was also stabilized primarily through paving, mulching, and planting in areas where construction activities and traffic had ceased. Hydro seed was also placed in the landscaping as a means of erosion control.
Storm water quality control includes placing fiber rolls, filter fabric,
and sediment traps at all storm drain inlets on the site. Additionally, silt fences were installed along the perimeter of the project to prevent sediment from leaving the site.
Multiple temporary concrete washout tubs were placed throughout
the site to prohibit concrete sediments from entering the storm drain systems. Sediment waste from these systems was then placed in concrete waste bins for proper disposal.
A water truck was used to spray water over various areas of the site to minimize airborne dust particles resulting from construction activity and vehicular traffic.
Tire washes were installed at all jobsite entrances to reduce sediment leaving the project as a result of vehicular traffic.
Street sweepers were deployed multiple times a week to clean the street of debris and sedimentation that occurred due to construction activity, vehicular traffic, and wind displacement.
Most of the construction waste was diverted to the Zanker recycling facility in San Jose.
The actual performance of the building depends on the operations of the building. The base building design has been proactive about helping the occupants operate the building in a sustainable manner:
HVAC systems use refrigerants that are CFC free and have no ozone depletion potential and minimum global warming potential.
HVAC systems are sized to provide 30% more outdoor air than the baseline in ASHRAE 62-2010.
The Owner has purchased Renewable Energy Credits equivalent to 100% of the buildings annual electricity use and has a 5-year contract with the provider.
A dedicated, covered, centralized trash enclosure is provided to enable the collection and storage of recyclables.
WHAT IS FITWEL?
Fitwel is an evidence-based building health certification standard that is created by CDC and supports healthier workplace environment for improved occupant health and productivity. 3045 Park Blvd. is pursuing Fitwel certification.
INDOOR AIR QUALITY
As we spend 90% of our time indoors (work or home), good indoor air quality plays a significant role in occupant productivity and well-being. As all buildings increasingly become airtight, it is important to maintain good indoor air quality. The mechanical design in the project addresses these concerns in the following ways:
Particulate control: The building has employed MERV 8 pre-filters and MERV 15 final filters to minimize the exposure to particulates indoors. MERV 8 pre-filters have an efficiency of 70% to 85% and removes the larger particles such as dust and spores. MERV 15 filters have an efficiency over 85% and removes finer particles such as auto emissions.
Outdoor air rate: The outdoor air rate exceeds ASHRAE62-2010 by 30%. Also, the Building management System is designed to allow the monitoring of CO2 and demand control ventilation. This ensures that even spaces with highly variable occupancy such as conference rooms always receive the required ventilation.
Isolation of chemical pollutants: Janitors closets are maintained at a negative pressure by exhausting the air with no recirculation. Moreover, the space is provided with self-closing doors and full height partitions.
To encourage physical activity at no additional cost, or time input, 3045 Park Blvd. has provided an aesthetically pleasing, daylit, open staircase with a direct view from the building main entrance. The staircase has adequate safety measures, including handrails on both sides and high contrast tread edges. Multiple studies show that staircase climbing increases leg power, maintain a health body weight, maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
Sedentary lifestyle is linked to increased risk of osteoporosis, loss of flexibility, lower metabolism, dementia, depression, and anxiety. The key to be less sedentary during work hours is an active workstation. Active workstations included sit- stand desks, bicycle desks and treadmill desks, i.e. any workstation that gets you on your feet.
A research published in Occupational and Environmental Medicine, which is a peer reviewed journal, indicates that bicycle desks and treadmill desks can provide greater short-term physiological changes than standing workstations that could potentially lead to better health. There is growing evidence that active workstations also result in greater short-term productivity.
At 3045 Park Blvd., Jay Paul is providing a bicycle desk for the exclusive use of the tenants.
DAYLIGHT AND QUALITY VIEWS
The core and shell building offers a significant potential for quality views and daylight of 300 lux or more in more than 75% of the floor plate. Quality views towards the exterior mitigates eye strain for the occupants, promotes health and productivity. Daylighting has been associated with improved mood, enhanced morale, less fatigue, and reduced eyestrain. Numerous studies show that daylight positively impacts performance and productivity in workspaces.