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Green Milestone
California’s Department of Education headquarters becomes the nation’s first state-owned building to achieve the highest possible “green building” certification

In ceremonies in the state capital, the headquarters of California’s Department of Education was acknowledged by the U.S. Green Building Council as the first state-owned building to receive Platinum Certification for energy efficiency and sustainability.

Only 19 buildings in the world that have achieved this level of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the highest possible rating. Nine of them are in California.

“With ten percent of all LEED-certified buildings, including almost half of our platinum buildings right here in California, and another 500 projects in the works, California has once again stood out as a visionary leader,” said Peter Templeton, Vice President of the U.S. Green Building Council.

“I’ve come to expect nothing less from the state of California,” added Templeton. “I’ve seen how far we have come on this road and I know from deep personal experience that the leadership the state of California and Californians have shown is why we’ve made the progress we’ve made.”

The Platinum award establishes the Education headquarters as a crown jewel in Governor Schwarzenegger’s green building initiative. His executive order on green building, issued in December, 2004, calls for all existing state buildings, and all future state construction and renovation projects, to meet a minimum of LEED Silver certification. It also calls for universities and colleges funded by the state and other entities related to state government to participate in the effort.

“When the governor signed the executive order, he asked for action,” said Rosario Marin, Secretary of the State & Consumer Services Agency and Chairperson of the Governor’s Green Action Team. Secretary Marin accepted the
Platinum award for the state at ceremonies at the Education building.

"We know this governor is all about action," the secretary said, "action to make California greener – and that is precisely what we are giving him today."

This is not the first honor for the Department of Education building, located in the new Capitol Area East End Complex.

The facility received a LEED Gold certification for sustainable design and construction shortly after it was completed in 2003. It also earned a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Energy Star rating of 95 (out of a possible 100) for superior energy performance.

Since then, under Department of General Services supervision, DGS staff, contractors and building operators have worked together to further improve its energy conservation and efficiency.

The facility incorporates a “white roof” system that deflects heat, open floor designs that maximize the use of natural light, high performance window glazing, and “smart” light controls. A solar array generates electricity for the building’s upper floors.

Originally designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than state code requirements, new enhancements have made the building 40 percent more efficient.  The initial (and impressive) energy savings of about $120,000 a year, attained in this the 336,000 square foot, six-story building have now reached $200,000 per year.

Indoor environmental quality for employees and visitors has also been improved with ventilation and air distribution systems. Water efficiency is increased, and the implementation of recycling programs has reduced the building's waste stream. 

Department of Education employees working in the building are encouraged to use environmentally friendly products for building maintenance and supplies. In fact, the state has just completed a comprehensive
Best Practices Manual for Environmentally Preferable Purchasing, now online. 

“This is precisely the sort of environmental breakthrough the governor was aiming at when he signed his executive order,” said Secretary Marin.

“He wants to see many more buildings like this one – and not just state buildings," she added. "He wants local government and private industry to join him in ’going LEED.’”  


Note: To download a diagram highlighting the range of building features designed to protect the health and well being of occupants and minimize environmental impact, click here (pdf format).

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