David Brower Center becomes first LEED Platinum-certified building in Berkeley
Designed by San Francisco-based WRT Design, the building was named after the prominent environmentalist David Brower and is also one of only 30 in the San Francisco Bay Area to secure LEED Platinum. The facility includes 50,000 square feet of office space, public education space, and a restaurant. The Center also provides rental office space for environmental non-profit organisations and conference center facilities for environmentally conscious events.
The architectural design of the David Brower Center is on the lines of some of Europe’s most recent green buildings. The Center features a distinct base, middle, and top. The base is formed by awnings, arcades, and entrances for the ground floor uses, while the middle of the building is defined by exposed structural columns and various light control devices. A projecting upper floor and sculpted awning structure that orients photovoltaic panels southward toward the sun delineates the building’s top.
A host of energy- and water-efficient design strategies were included to secure the certification such as optimal siting; 100% daylighting of all office areas; natural ventilation; a high performance building skin; and a high efficiency HVAC system that includes in-slab radiant heating and cooling.
The building has utilized concrete with slag to reduce CO2 and cement content and to increase strength. A vertically post-tensioned structure has been built to minimise potential damage due to earthquakes. Operable windows and low pressure ventilation in the building is achieved through the raised flooring system to maximise indoor air quality. Co2 sensors have been employed throughout that indicates the level of fresh air inside.
Photovoltaic power generation with panels doubling as sun shade devices have been employed throughout along with collection and reuse of rainwater for irrigation and toilet flushing. Waterless urinals have been installed across the facility, which is the first such in the city. A rainwater catchment system has also been employed that provides water for flushing toilets and irrigation along with low-flow fixtures and a solar hot water system. The building was constructed using 53% recycled and non-toxic materials.
The project involved WRT Design in collaboration with Loisos and Ubbelohde, Tipping Mar + associates for structural engineering, and Equity Community Builders as the developer.