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The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Richmond Campus is a 29-acre, 700,000-square-foot campus that houses offices and laboratories, and serves the needs of multiple users. When Building P was being designed in 2002, it was one of a few pilot buildings tested by the State of California to determine the feasibility of implementing sustainable measures in state buildings. This testing led to the creation of Executive Order S-20-04, which requires all new and existing state buildings above 50,000 square feet to achieve LEED certification.


Building P is comprised of office space and houses one of the two emergency response centers for CDPH. The main features of Building P include its sustainable design and exemplary energy performance (including an ENERGY STAR energy performance score of 98). CDPH has received significant rebates from numerous incentive programs offered by PG&E, which is the local utility provider.


The facility?s exemplary energy performance was achieved by design, diligent operation, and proactive maintenance. This long and narrow building has its short sides facing east and west, thus minimizing solar heat gains. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the north side provide plenty of natural light without glare or heat gain. On the contrary, the south facing windows are set back into the concrete overhangs, thus reducing glare and heat gains. Additionally, exterior-mounted aluminum sunshades (?brise soleil?) further block the sun's direct rays. Occupant-controlled interior shades on the south side also allow occupants to control daylight in their workspace. A large, four-story, open-light court, located in the center of the building, provides employees with a pleasant and productive environment by bringing diffused light into the center of the building through clerestory windows, and a convex, curved ceiling bounces light in and down into the space, thus reducing the need for artificial light.


Controls on the north and south inte­rior perimeter lights turn off artificial lighting when natural light levels are sufficient. Task lighting at all work­stations allows general lighting levels to be lower throughout. Occupancy sensors in private offices and conference rooms shut off lighting in these spaces when unoccupied.


The building's concrete walls provide thermal mass, absorbing the sun's heat during the day and releasing it at night when heat will not overload the building's air-conditioning system. In addition, reflective roofing materials reduce solar heat absorption, decreasing the building's cooling load.

The building's HVAC systems were sized to meet actual (not maximum) conditions, thus creating a more energy-efficient design. Furthermore, air-side economizers take advantage of Richmond's mostly mild weather by supply­ing outdoor air into the building (instead of mechanically cooling the supply air) when the outdoor temperatures are within a certain range. The HVAC systems are variable air volume (VAV) with hot water zone heating, and the chillers are water-cooled. All of the pumps, chillers, cooling towers and air-handling unit fans have variable speed drives (VSD).


Building P participated in PG&E's Monitoring-Based Persistence Commissioning (MBPCx) program, a systematic process for optimizing an existing building system's per­formance by identifying operational deficiencies and making adjustments. All energy-saving measures identified in Building P were achieved by opera­tional changes (such as revising the air handler schedule), resetting temperature settings (such as resetting condenser water temperature), and additional low-cost, energy-saving retrofit measures (such as replacing return air damper actuators and relocating some ther­mostats getting direct sunlight). These measures provided estimated annual savings of 543,000 kWh and 9,250 therms, with a payback of 0.4 years.

Operational measures that helped the building achieve exemplary energy performance include: (a) installation of computer power management software (called Verdiem) that places computer CPUs into sleep mode when they are not being used; this measure reduced the power consumption of computers by 42 percent; (b) participation in PG&E's Automated Demand Response Program (Auto DR), which has reduced demand charges; during times of high electricity prices or system emergencies, PG&E sends a signal via the Internet to a communi­cation box connected to the building's energy management system, initiating a cooling offset of all the VAV temper­atures by four degrees, raising building temperatures by the same amount; and (c) use of pre­ventative maintenance software for facili­ties (called Maximo) and the commitment of the facility?s staff members to ensure strict adherence to a regular preventative maintenance schedule of the HVAC equipment.

This is a great example of a government building that had exceptional A&E firms design it and, equally importantly, dedicated staff members to not only maintain it and operate it, but also to enhance its performance. All parties involved helped bring the building?s ENERGY STAR energy performance score from low 90s to an impressive 98. In 2011, Building P was awarded LEED-EB certification at the Silver level and was only two points away from achieving Gold.


2012 winter issue of the ASHRAE High Performing Buildings Magazine:


January/February 2012 issue of Architectural Products magazine:


Video produced by PG&E:


See above




Please note: Narrative information in this profile has been provided by California Department of Public Health or a representative of this facility. Other building information was verified and submitted to EPA at the time of application. Building energy performance, operating characteristics, and ownership/management may be subject to change over time.

Building Owner:*
California Department of Public Health

Property Manager:*

Year(s) Labeled (Rating):
2008 (94)
2010 (98)
2012 (98)
2014 (97)
2016 (99)
2018 (100)

Facility Type: Office

Total Floorspace: 205153 sf

Year Constructed: 2005

Contract Type: Single Turn-Key Contract
Financing Type: Public Bond

Technologies Used:
   Stage 1-Recommissioning
   Stage 2-Lighting
   Stage 3-Load Reductions
   Stage 4-Fan Systems
   Stage 5-Heating and Cooling Plant
   Other Technologies/Strategies