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LEED Gold in Corrections Facilities

The topics of sustainable design, LEED® certification and environmentally responsible buildings seem to be commonplace in architecture and design language these days. For Nacht & Lewis, these topics are even more intriguing when faced with the challenge of implementing them in a secure prison setting as opposed to a typical office building or other facility type. Security conditions are difficult, code requirements are challenging and daylight and exterior views require a unique design approach. Together with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the entire project team, Nacht & Lewis has been able to achieve not one, but two LEED Gold certificates on two of our recently completed corrections facilities, the first LEED Gold Certified projects for CDCR.

CDCR and Sustainability
In 2004, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger issued EXECUTIVE ORDER S-20-04, stating that all new and renovated state-owned facilities paid for with state funds should be certified as “LEED Silver” or higher (later rescinded in 2012, and replaced with EO B-18-12). In 2010, he announced that the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) requiring all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. These comprehensive regulations have helped to achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water use to create a greener California. From the beginning, CDCR set out to reach LEED certified goals to illustrate their support for the State of California in reducing energy use and green house gas emissions. 

 In 2009, when we started a significant building program for the mental health population, we weren’t certain that the sustainability goals as set forth in LEED were within our reach. However, during the design phase with Nacht & Lewis and our sustainability consultant, Green Building Services, it was clear this was possible and at that point, there was no question that we could deliver this important goal for the Department as part of its “Going Green” initiative. As with any set of goals, we have also been interested in building upon earlier efforts (LEED & LEED Silver status) and the natural progression of this from a design and operations perspective is to seek an even greater level of commitment to the environment by pursuing and then attaining LEED Gold status.

– Deborah Hysen, Director (A) of Facility Planning, Construction and Management, CDCR

LEED Gold Projects
The first of two projects is the award winning, CDCR California Men’s Colony, 50-Bed Mental Health Crisis Facility in San Luis Obispo, California.

CMC Mental CMC Mental

Key LEED Features  

  • High efficiency roof mounted HVAC systems that reduce green house gases, use 17% less power than conventional units and increase indoor air quality.
  • Vacuum flush system and low flow plumbing fixtures that limits water usage and avoids outsource to the waste stream. It is estimated that the new facility reduces potable water by 59% and sewage conveyance by 65%.
  • 75% of the construction waste was recycled and regional materials were used whenever possible, thereby reducing the impact on limited natural resources.

“We are extremely proud that CDCR continues to show leadership in energy and water conservation which not only benefits this beautiful San Luis Obispo community, but lowers our operating costs, and improves the quality of life for our inmate-patients and staff. San Luis Obispo is one of California’s most beautiful and natural settings and to be able to build a facility that doesn’t adversely impact that environment, and yet still accomplishes our important mission of delivering services in a safe and secure setting, was a true win-win.”

– Keith Beland, Associate Director of Project Management Branch, CDCR

The most recent LEED Gold achievement is for the CDCR California State Prison, Los Angeles County – Enhanced Outpatient Facility in Lancaster, California.

Project-CDCR-LAC-EOP-1 Project-CDCR-LAC-EOP-2

Key LEED Features

  • Significantly reduced interior potable water use, including a greater than 30% reduction in water demand though low-flow fixtures and faucets.
  • Installed high-efficiency HVAC&R to optimize the project’s energy performance. Reduced energy demand by over 32% compared to the baseline performance.
  • Prepared a measurement and verification plan to ensure the project is operated and managed in an energy-efficient manner throughout its life.
  • Recycled over 95% of the waste generated during demolition and construction.
  • Incorporated of a range of strategies to improve indoor air quality, including specifying low-emitting paints and coatings and prohibiting smoking in and around the project.

CDCR remains steadfast in its commitment to design, construct and operate its facilities in a sustainable manner. It recognizes that its total footprint, with over 40 square miles of property and 44,000,000 s.f. of buildings, that it has an important and necessary role to play in mitigating impacts to the environment. This environmental stewardship role will continue to influence the Department in its operations and we look forward to working with architects over the years to refine and perfect its designs in an effort to achieve these important goals.

– Deborah Hysen, Director (A) of Facility Planning, Construction and Management, CDCR

Eric Fadness, Principal-in-Charge and Corrections Market Lead adds, “Our values, our approach and our vision for sustainability and environmental stewardship align with CDCR’s. Together we have achieved LEED Gold Certification, but this is about more than the recognition, it is about our commitment to quality design that always adheres to the principles of sustainability and energy efficiency while working with security and building code challenges that are inherent with correctional facilities”.
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U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.
 
With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.
 
Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
 
LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.
 
By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
 
USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org. 
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