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Posts tagged ‘LEED’

Colorful Valley Health Center in Downtown San Jose is the long-awaited answer to medical needs of underserved populations nearby

RATCLIFF takes architectural cues from local habitat and multi-cultural communities in design of new county health center, rated LEED Gold for sustainability.


Situated at a transit gateway to downtown San Jose, served by a future BART station and a major bus corridor, the Valley Health Center at 725 East Santa Clara Street that opened June 13, 2016 connects three vicinities that have lacked medical services. The center has risen on the grounds of the old San Jose Medical Center that closed in 2004.

The architecture features rhythmic placement of rainbow-colored glass fins and integrated horizontal sunshade screens with judicious but extensive use of multi-color glass panels throughout the building. The bold colors pay tribute to Mexican architect Luis Barragan and artists such as Diego Rivera, but also impart a strong visual identity to the building, intended to have an uplifting effect on patients and staff.

The 62,000 square foot, $38 million Valley Health Center is owned and operated by Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) and Gardner Family Health Network.  It serves a young, multi-ethnic population with a high dependence on public healthcare services.  The facility supports a wide range of services, including family medicine, pediatrics, ob/gyn, laboratory, pharmacy, radiology and behavioral health.  It features an urgent care clinic that is open for extended hours seven days a week.

In recent years both government and private entities have been actively promoting the development of high-rise projects in the San Jose city center. However, in the larger downtown area vast tracts of early 20th century single-family residences still predominate. There is a historic district that dates back to the Spanish era. Many residents are of Hispanic descent, exceeding 60 percent of the population in neighborhoods immediately adjacent to the facility. Therefore while it must serve future needs of a developing city, the facility also acknowledges the unique heritage and setting of downtown San Jose.
The building envelope allows in natural light but keeps out heat and solar exposure in the warm climate. Visitors encounter abundant natural light, warm wood paneling, clear wayfinding signage, and an LED star ceiling. Large, sunny waiting rooms on upper levels afford city views, and waiting room walls are treated for noise reduction. Careful attention was paid to eliminating environmental stressors and toxins.

The design team took a comprehensive approach to addressing flexibility, beginning with the building structural system and working down to the size and infrastructure of individual rooms. Physician offices can be converted to clinical spaces without requiring a remodel, for example. The site will also allow for addition of a new MOB by replacing the existing surface parking lot with a multi-level structure.

Many clients will rely on public transit, and the facility is located at a transit gateway to downtown, served by a major bus corridor and future BART station.  The decision to locate the facility at a transit gateway was a significant factor in its attaining LEED Gold certification for new construction.  Mandated by the County to achieve Silver, the project team raised the bar with elements including:

  • Community connectivity – pedestrian-friendly open spaces and convenience to public transportation
  • Cool roof and reflective site paving
  • Water efficient plumbing fixtures
  • Minimized irrigation of landscaping and use of reclaimed water
  • High performance building envelope with solar control to minimize heat loss and gain
  • Abundant daylight and views in public areas
  • Thermal comfort with healthy, energy-efficient ventilation system for overall indoor spaces
  • Reduced indoor air pollution with non-toxic building materials and furniture
  • Use of sustainably harvested wood
  • High percentage of recycled construction waste

The designers also achieved a PG&E Savings by Design rebate of $150,000 for energy
efficient design that exceeds California Title 24 standards.

Green: BREEAM US and Future of LEED EBOM

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Judhajit Chakraborty. Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP WSP Built Ecology

Building Research Establishment Environmental  Assessment Method or simply put BREEAM is the world’s oldest and the most widely used green building rating systems. Established in 1990 in the UK by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), BREEAM has to-date certified 544,600 projects world-wide. Compare that to the 75,000 certified projects for LEED.

Recently BREEAM announced its arrival in the US market through a partnership with BuildingWise, a Bay Area-based LEED certification consultancy organization. Together they formed a new organization, BREEAM USA ( and will focus on the BREEAM In-Use Standard to address the 5.6 million existing commercial buildings in this country that are not using any benchmarking tools for certifying their sustainability efforts. BREEAM-USA through the In-Use Standard ( will focus only on benchmarking and certifying existing commercial buildings.

Barry Giles, CEO of BREEAM USA, founder of Building Wise who also helped launch LEED–EBOM, mentioned that BREEAM USA will open up the option for many of the existing buildings in USA that don’t currently use a building certification program. This is because the available systems (LEED) are seen as cumbersome, expensive and require prerequisites that many buildings find impossible to achieve.  And that LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED – EBOM) requires an energy star score of 75 as a prerequisite which by definition bars 75% of the existing building stock from complying with LEED.

What is BREEAM In-Use?

BREEAM In-Use is an independent science-based assessment method which assists property investors, owners, managers and occupiers to drive sustainable improvements through operational efficiency, including how to continually manage the operation of their building effectively, reduce energy costs and consequently carbon footprints. Key differences between BREEAM In –Use and LEED EBOM

No Prerequisites Many prerequisites
Science Driven Consensus Driven
Third Party ON SITE Verification for Certification Third Party OFF SITE Verification for Certification
Open to all existing commercial properties Minimum requirements must be met
Fast results At least 6-9 months
Both Benchmark and Certification Only Certification

The BREEAM In-Use Process

It all starts with a questionnaire which the building owner pays $1,000 for access up to a year. The questionnaire is in three parts. The first part covers the assetsbuilding info, construction date, materials, glazing type etc. This results in a somewhat ballpark assumption of how much energy the building might consume. The second part, which is the most comprehensive and covers the building operations. The third part covers the tenants. Each question leads up to another question. Therefore, the building is being scored as the questions are being answered. The initial score through the questionnaire is then verified by a third party BREEAM assessor licensed by BREEAM USA who will come on-site and verify the data. The data will be sent to BREEAM USA for quality control and final certification based on the rating table above. BREEAM covers a total of nine environmental categories including energy, water, waste, materials, pollution, health and well-being, land use and ecology, transport and management.

With BREEAM and its fairly simple and streamlined certification method, it will surely jolt the existing buildings certifications market currently monopolized by LEED EBOM and USGBC. It remains to be seen how much BREEAM will be able to infiltrate and challenge LEED as it has done so remarkably in the UK and other European


Green: Recent Developments in LEED v3 and v4

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Judhajit Chakraborty. Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP WSP Built Ecology

LEED 2009/ LEED v3: Last month some major changes were introduced in LEED 2009 which will be Lapplicable to projects registered between April 8, 2016 and October 31, 2016 before LEED 2009 gets phased out completely. The LEED energy prerequisite is being increased from 10% to 18% energy cost savings for any LEED 2009 (version 3) projects registered after April 8, 2016. This change is applicable to the LEED 2009 BD+C, ID+C, and LEED 2008 Multifamily Midrise rating systems and does not affect LEED 2009 O+M, ND or LEED 2008 Homes. This change will also not affect projects registered under LEED v4. With this change in effect, project teams will be required to earn a minimum of four points in the energy performance credits.

The referenced energy standard and modeling requirements in LEED 2009 will not change. Buildings falling under the proposed change can use the same methodologies and referenced standards, but will need to earn additional points in order to achieve certification. This change comes as a direct result of a study where it was found that the average LEED BD+C v2009 project improves upon the 90.1-2007 baseline by approximately 29 percent. After the study was published in September 2015 the proposal of this update was put forward and the voting process was finished by March 7, 2016. The proposal received a 78.6% votes in favor of the change which sealed the update. A minimum of two-thirds approval is needed for any balloted measure.

greenLEED v4- “Effort” Certification: In order to appease the rigor of the stringent LEEDv4, USGBC has carved out a new program called LEED “Effort” certification which adds a fifth level and presumably the easiest level after the basic “Certified” level (40 points). This program will be launched in fall 2016 when LEEDv3 will be phased out. With no chasing points in this program, this is USGBC’s answer for a long awaiting demand for LEED “Equivalent” buildings. With only two pre-requisites (registering the project and completing the project and the rest being optional) USGBC is trying to reach out to architects and developers who are deeply concerned about their ability to sell on the more stringent energy, IAQ [indoor air quality], and material requirements of LEED v4. The program will also give all participants access to the LEED Effort Dynamic Plaque, which tracks building performance in real time, but metrics are based on how hard you try to actually measure the performance.

Green: An Introduction to the WELL Building Standard

Judhajit Chakraborty

Judhajit Chakraborty. Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP WSP Built Ecology

As a continuation to my last article, this month’s article will focus on the newest baby in Building Environmental Standards, the Well Building Standard. This was another hot topic at the Center for Built Environment’s biannual symposium that was held in April 2015 at UC Berkeley. A whole afternoon session was dedicated to WELL, LEED and Living Building Challenge building metrics. Though we are all very much aware of LEED and slowly but surely getting acquainted with Living Building Challenge, WELL Building Standard brings to the table a whole new level of qualitative metrics aiming exclusively at human health and wellness. The WELL Building Standard is founded by DELOS living, a private for profit organization that does research, consulting, real estate development and innovative solutions for the built environment. Furthermore, they have big names such as Deepak Chopra, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rick Fredrizzi (CEO, USGBC), Jason McLennan (CEO, International Living Future Institute), Nicholas LaRusso (Director of Mayo Clinic) et al. in its advisory board and also has been endorsed by none other than former President Bill Clinton.

So, what is the WELL Building Standard about?

“The WELL Building Standard sets performance requirements in seven categories relevant to occupant

health in the built environment – Air, Water, Nourishment, Light, Fitness, Comfort and Mind. WELL

Certified™ spaces can help create a built environment that improves the nutrition, fitness, mood, sleep

patterns, and performance of its occupants”- Well Building Standard. It marries the best practices in

design and construction with evidence-based health and wellness interventions.

Similar to LEED, it is based on performance and requires a passing score in each of the above mentioned

seven categories which involves comprehensive documentation and an onsite audit. Similar to LEED, there are three levels of certification- Silver, Gold and Platinum. The standard currently can be applied to three types of projects: new construction and major renovations; tenant improvement; and core and shell development.

The certification process platform is provided by GBCI (Green Building Certification Inc.) which

administers the LEED processes as well.

An interesting aspect of this standard lies in its connection to the human body systems and that adherence to the standard would benefit the human body. The WELL Building Standard addresses factors that are vital to the healthy functioning of the cardiovascular system, digestive system, endocrine system, immune system, integumentary system (skin, hair and nails), muscular system, nervous system, reproductive system, respiratory systems, skeletal systems and urinary systems.

For example, under the Air Category – The intent is to achieve medically validated performance-based

thresholds for healthy indoor air quality. This intent calls for:

■ Effective air cleaning and treatment practices, including particle filters, UV sanitation, and activated

carbon air filters.

■ Ideal air change rates and air distribution.

■ Continual air quality measurement tied to air changes with feedback to the user.

■ Minimization of source chemicals or pathogens in furniture, cleaning products, or other indoor uses.

■ Sound design practices to avoid trapping contaminants or creating indoor air problems.

■ Construction protocol to protect ducts and indoor air quality during construction.

Adherence to these factors may improve upper respiratory health, allergies and asthma, chronic fatigue,

eye irritations, headaches and focus issues, odor control, multiple chemical sensitivities etc.

Another interesting feature is that a WELL Certification is valid for three years after which it has to undergo a recertification process to verify that the building is performing according to the standard and a certification can be renewed.

The WELL Building Standard doesn’t mandate reduction in energy or water or consumption of any resources. It solely focuses on good air and water quality, good nourishment, balance of the human circadian rhythm, fitness, and design strategies that promote positive and optimal mind and comfort conditions.

It claims to be harmonious to LEED and Living Building Challenge. For sure, the WELL standard has the funding and big names to push it forward and to some extent it is gaining momentum as we can see its participation in all major AEC events. We well may see hospitals and corporate giants embracing the WELL standard in the near future.


Project Profile: Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 Apprentice Training Facility – LEED Gold







Bay Area Industrial Fund (BATF)
Fairfield, CA
Sheet Metal Workers Local 104 and Bay Area Industrial Training Fund operate a joint labor-management trust that provides skills training and knowledge to sheet metal apprentices. Originally constructed in 1983 as a camping and RV center, this 44,000 square- foot wood framed and concrete tilt-up structure was purchased by the BAITF in 2010.

The BAITF’s vision for this multi-million dollar contemporary apprentice training facility centered on two major objectives:
First, to create a facility that would effectively serve the apprentice program well into the future; and, second, to design the facility to a LEED Gold(pending certification) as an example of industry excellence. A 45kw PV system was a key element of this remodel: this strategy pushed the project into the LEED Gold level.

The building was completely remodeled and major improvements were also made to the site including: storm water filtration, LED lighting and drought tolerant landscaping. A seismic retrofit was also designed for the ‘high-bay’ tilt-up portion of the building. Major spaces include administrative spaces, conference room, classrooms, architectural sheet metal shop, HV&AC sheet metal shop, welding lab, testing and air balancing (TAB) lab, instructor prep spaces, assembly hall, prep kitchen and union offices.

Upon completion of the programming phase, the owner, CM and architect interviewed contractors and selected Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company as the builder. The project delivery method was Design-Assist, and the MEP was Design-Build. Weekly design meetings took place at the site through schematic and design development phases and were attended by the owner, CM, architect, GC, key subs and building users. This collaborative process successfully allowed the team to identify cost, scope and schedule control measures and created an environment of accountability and clear communications.

Project Profile: Fukuji Architecture and Planning

Project 1

Collaborative, Supportive Housing at Alameda Point

Fukuji Architecture and Planning, AKA Urban Design Innovations

Bruce Fukuji, AIA is designing 200 units of supportive housing for formerly homeless individuals and families at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. In 2009 the Collaborative Partners initiated a collaborative process to plan for and respond proactively to the City of Alameda’s plans to redevelop Alameda Point and address the interests of their constituents.

The master plan creates a model supportive housing community for three organizations: Alameda Point Collaborative who serve formerly homeless families; Building Futures for Women and Children who serve formerly homeless women and children who are survivors of domestic violence and mental health challenge; and Operation Dignity who serve homeless veterans to rebuild their lives and address wounds of war that continue to linger after their return to civilian life.


Bruce facilitated visioning sessions with the staff, residents and boards of the three agencies to create a community-based vision for how the three agencies can share services to transition residents to self-sufficiency.

The site plan is designed as a walkable, bikable, transit-oriented neighborhood for LEED ND gold certification. Housing is clustered around a village center with comprehensive social services. The supportive services case management counseling, peer to peer support groups, micro enterprises, trauma informed and recovery-oriented services, job training, social enterprises, a veteran drop in center, wellness programs, youth programs, a community center and a daycare program.

project3Housing is arranged in small residential blocks to enable each service provider to create a safe and secure community environment for families. This design creates safety with “eyes on the street” and sense of community where people can connect with each other on a daily basis. Units are a mix of two, three, and four bedrooms as flats, townhouses, and apartments. The supportive housing neighborhood is designed to blend with, and complement, the character of the new market rate housing in the Main Street Neighborhood.

2014 Home Tours

2014 AIA East Bay Home Tours
Saturday, August 9, 2014

Click here to purchase tickets.
$50 in advance
$60 Tour Day, if available
Tour Day ticket headquarters: Bica Coffeehouse, 5701 College Ave, Rockridge

AIA East Bay announces the return of its popular Home Tours. This year’s tour is Saturday, August 9, 2014. Our “mostly self-guided” tour celebrates design excellence, inspiring and educating the public about the impact of architects and architecture on East Bay living.

2014 Sponsors:

Premier Sponsor
The Grubb Company

Media Sponsor
Diablo Magazine

Industry Sponsors
American Soil & StoneLOGO 2013 final (2)lutron logomoen_300x100

2014 Homes:


Craftsman Addition
Eisenmann Architecture


Midcentury Modern
Koch Architects


Contemporary Cabin
John Quiter, AIA


Gallery House
Regan Bice Architects


LEED Ranch
Michelle Kaufmann Studio


View House
WA Design


Featuring Houses By:

Eisenmann Architecture
Michelle Kaufmann Studio
Koch Architects
John Quiter, AIA
Regan Bice Architects
WA Design

The AIA East Bay Home Tours feature a diverse selection of contemporary homes designed by the Bay Area’s leading architects, ranging from finely-detailed in-law units to exuberant historic renovations to stunning modern masterpieces.

The AIA East Bay Home Tours is the best way for our community to learn how an architect transforms a house into a home.

Questions? Please contact Sidney Sweeney, executive director at 510/464-3600 or

Architecture Tour: Girls Inc.

Friday, December 13, 2013
Girls Inc, 510 16th Street, Oakland, CA 9461

$5 AIA Members; $10 Guests. Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

The new Girls Inc. Simpson Center for Girls is an adaptive re-use and rehabilitation of an existing 5-story, 34,000 square foot historic office building in Oakland, originally constructed in 1919. Anne Phillips Architecture (APA) worked closely with the owner to create vibrant and functional environments for its central administrative offices, program space and first of its kind resource center serving girls at risk.

The project includes a complete interior renovation, voluntary seismic retrofit, preservation of the historic terra cotta façade, new signage and a new entry to improve street presence. The project anticipates LEED certification early next year.

Join us for a tour led by Anne Phillips, AIA and Winston Win, AIA. All are welcome!

Photographs © 2013, David Wakely
Photographs © 2013, David Wakely

Design Tour: Chabot College Community and Student Services Center

Chabot College Community and Student Services Center
Wednesday, May 15

Location: Hayward, CA
Cost: Free AIA Members; $5 Guests.  Click here to register.

1.5 CES/HSW Lus

tBP Architects’ Student Services Center at Chabot College is a LEED Platinum facility which not only meets the needs of the growing student population at Chabot College, but also facilitate interaction as a community center within the neighboring community. Its siting and form completes the campus frontage, defines a public plaza, and creates a pedestrian thoroughfare, opening the campus core to the Hayward community. The two-story atrium engages the public plaza, drawing visitors in to discover a variety of service and information counters, flexible study lounges, counseling offices and resource areas. The innovative design “breaks-down barriers” between departments, creates a welcoming student environment to support student success.

Join AIA East Bay for a tour of this highly sustainable building, led by Phil Newsom, Architect, and Doug Horner, AIA.

Gearing Up To Deliver Greener Projects

Thursday, September 6
Noon – 1:30pm

A Small Firm Forum Presentation
Free for AIA members; $3 for non-members. All are welcome, no need to RSVP.

Ann V Edminster presents what professional firms need to do/be prepared to do if they want to produce high-performance (healthy, net-zero energy, LEED, Passive House, Living Building) homes. New performance objectives mean new knowledge, skills, resources, and relationships – get your ducks in a row!

California aims for all new homes to be net-zero energy by 2020. Meanwhile, ever-increasing numbers of design firms are getting on the green building band wagon and designing homes to meet goals for health, achieve LEED certification, meet Passive House standards, earn Living Building status, etc. Designers pursuing these high performance goals need new information, skills, resources, and relationships, yet more often the focus is on innovative products and technologies.

This presentation provides strategies and tools for laying the essential groundwork to equip design firms to consistently meet higher performance standards on their projects while avoiding common pitfalls. New performance requirements typically entail adopting change, both within organizations and in team dynamics. The topics covered will include how to be effective as an agent for change, as well as specific types of changes that are needed and how to go about implementing them – from new ways to approach energy modeling to writing new specifications to using new software. Last but certainly not least, we will cover integrated design and integrated project delivery – what they are, and why and how to adopt these approaches.

About the presenter: Ann V Edminster, M.Arch., LEED AP, is a recognized international expert on green homes. She chaired development of the LEED for Homes Rating System and authored Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet, which provides guidance on net-zero energy home design and construction. She has held key roles on award-winning residential projects of all types.

Learning Objectives:

  1. How to successfully address common challenges in high-performance projects.
  2. Skills, knowledge, and relationships needed to effectively coordinate green projects.
  3. Why and how to pursue an integrated design process and/or integrated project delivery.
  4. Tools and resources to support high-performance projects.