Green Building: Providing a Proven Sustainable Advantage
With the call for green building design and construction growing in virtually every market sector, an increasing number of contractors have jumped into the fray to satisfy owner demand. Only a few contractors, however, have demonstrated that they have the proven expertise and experience to help customers obtain the most “green for green"and develop the right strategies for successful projects to meet their business needs.
For DPR, green building has become nearly second nature over the past five years as the company has compiled a resume of more than nearly $1 billion dollars in green building projects, including more than a dozen that are currently in construction or preconstruction and 19 other green projects completed since 2001. From inception to completion, DPR has repeatedly shown the value it can bring to a green project, guiding clients from early cost comparison and selection of green materials and processes all the way through construction and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification process of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
In one recent example, owner Allsteel/Gunlocke selected DPR when it decided to pursue green design and construction on its San Francisco Resource Center project. DPR’s experience with green building requirements proved invaluable in helping the project team select systems and materials that met LEED credit requirements, while also providing cost effective green alternatives to fit the owner’s budget needs.
Working early on in the design phase with San Francisco architect Gensler and MEP engineer Glumac, DPR led the team in determining what level certification it would seek—LEED-CI (Commercial Interiors) Silver certification—and establishing the goals and responsibility for each LEED credit that was pursued.
Allsteel/Gunlocke chose a stand-alone pavilion in the Embarcadero Center complex in downtown San Francisco as the site for the 13,500-sq.-ft. Allsteel Resource Center. The existing building’s 40-year-old HVAC system that was replaced with a custom-designed, state-of-the-art energy efficient system.
Among its various green features, the renovated building is designed to reduce the lighting power density to 25 percent below the Title 24 energy requirements through the use of efficient lighting fixtures and controls. Water consumption has been reduced by nearly 43 percent as a result of the plumbing fixtures that were chosen. All adhesives and sealants in the building are below established VOC limits and the carpet meets the green building standard for low VOC emissions.
On the construction side, DPR was able to divert nearly 76 percent of construction waste from landfills through an extensive recycling program. Allsteel is creating an Active Education Program that entails signage throughout the completed space to tell the story of how the building was designed and constructed as a sustainable facility.
Assigning responsibility for and tracking green building goals from inception through project completion are critical to the success of a green project, but it does add “another component and level of responsibility to every party,“according to Dan Zlydaszyk of DPR.
The project is unique in that it represents DPR’s first experience in utilizing “LEED-Online,“a new product launched by the USGBC late 2005 as a way to simplify the certification process, reduce paperwork and enhance the rating system. “Our decision to utilize LEED-Online has been a huge plus for this job and has saved us a lot of time in the submission stage,“said DPR’s Ted van der Linden. “We wanted to beta test and learn what the LEED-Online program was like, what worked and what didn’t. We have uncovered and helped the USGBC with fixing bugs in the templates, as well as uploading document issues.”
Construction Manager: Rockridge Group
“Because of our commitment to greening our projects, we took the lead in the LEED process, and we’re still working to ensure it is successful in achieving LEED-CI Silver certification,“said van der Linden. “That’s our investment not only in this project, but in changing the market overall.”
On a national level, each of DPR’s regional offices recently rolled out a module to record waste diversion on every project. The custom-created module allows the project team to track waste volumes by weight or material types when it is picked up by the waste hauler. The quantities are entered based on how much of the waste went to the landfill and how much was diverted (recycled). Reports for each project can then be printed in numerous formats, including a total diversion report.
Client: Alexandria Real Estate Equities, Inc.
Architect: Dowler-Gruman Architects
“The waste diversion module is already proving to be useful in bringing attention to the waste generated on site, which in turn will encourage others to competitively look for new ways to divert a greater percentage of waste from landfills,“said van der Linden. Case in point is a recent project for Alexandria Real Estate in South San Francisco, which was one of the first projects to use the new module. Completed in September 2006, this new four-story, 126,971-sq.-ft. corporate office / life sciences building known as 681 Gateway is pursuing LEED-CS (Core & Shell) Silver certification under the USGBC’s pilot program.
Designed by Dowler-Gruman Architects, the building features energy efficient mechanical equipment and extensive natural day lighting. The project diverted 86 percent of the construction waste and was constructed utilizing 17 percent recycled-content materials. The project also surpassed Title 24 energy requirements by 25 percent by incorporating motion-detection lighting controls, high-efficiency boilers and chillers and glazing on windows to reduce heating loads on the building skin.
DPR assisted the customer in evaluating the upfront costs of building green compared to a non-green facility. The first cost for construction to meet LEED requirements on 681 Gateway was less than one percent of the project’s overall cost, much of which will be recouped in long-term savings. On this project and many others, DPR has been able to demonstrate to owners that the cost differential between energy efficient/ high performance green construction can be minimal; the key is simply making the right choices both in building materials and systems, as well as in the selection of an experienced project team.
Posted on June 8, 2011
Last Updated August 23, 2022