SUSTAINABILITY

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 designed to achieve LEED Gold rating under LEED V4 which is the current and a stringent version of the LEED rating system. 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.

SUSTAINABLE 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.

  • 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.

 

SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORTATION

Transportation sector accounts for 45% of GHG emissions in the world, and 50% of GHG emissions in California. 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.

 

WATER EFFICIENCY

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 33% 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

Building energy efficiency is considered a low hanging fruit to achieving carbon neutrality. The benefits include the following:

  • 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 in 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 provides 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.

  • Monitoring based commissioning: The BAS systems and metering used in the building allows for monitoring based commissioning that provides real-time data analytics of the energy use through the life of the building. This enables facility managers to identify problems when they arise immediately and proactively take measures to fix them. It also informs the occupants of their energy use pattern and their variation throughout the year, helping them take better energy management decisions.

 

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:

  1. 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 areas where construction activities and traffic had ceased. Hydro seed was also placed in the landscaping as a means of erosion control.

  2. ​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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Tire washes were installed at all jobsite entrances to reduce sediment leaving the project as a result of vehicular traffic.

  6. 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.

  7. Most of the construction waste was diverted to the Zanker recycling facility in San Jose.

COMFORT AND WELLBEING

 

The core and shell design of the building focused on occupant comfort levels in addition to achieving energy efficiency and sustainability. Indoor environmental quality affects the occupants' helath, productivity and well-being. The shell design offers a huge potential to maximize quality views for most of the occupants. Quality views towards the exterior mitigates eye strain for the occupants, promotes health and productivity.

The ventilation systems are so designed such that the outdoor air flow rate exceeds the ASHRAE 62-2010 by 30%. Also, the Building management System is designed to allow the monitoring of C02 and demand control ventilation. This ensures that even spaces with highly variable occupancy such as conference rooms always receive the required ventilation.

MERV13 filters are used in the ventilation systems to filter the outdoor air before being delivered to the space.

 

OPERATIONS

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, e-waste and batteries.

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