Whitepaper: 05.09.2012

Surpassing Green Goals at the College of San Mateo

McCarthy delivered a major construction program two months early to the San Mateo County Community College District’s (SMCCCD) College of San Mateo. The program involved managing multiple design-build teams as a single project, navigating tight scheduling and coordination constraints to integrate with other campus construction projects, and implementing a collaborative approach to ensure minimal campus disruption. McCarthy successfully managed this intense effort while exceeding LEED Silver requirements and delivering two pristine facilities within budget months ahead of schedule.  

The College of San Mateo CIP 2 was a design-build project that transformed an existing community college campus developed in the early 1960s into a 21st Century state-of-the-art learning environment. This effort included the demolition of four existing poured-in-place concrete classroom buildings to make way for two new larger educational buildings: an 88,000-square-foot, three story Allied Health and Wellness Building housing a state of the art commercial fitness center, cosmetology, nursing and dental vocational programs as well as a new aquatic center; and a new 140,000-square-foot, four-story College Center including admissions and records, a full-scale commercial kitchen and 20,000+ square-foot dining area, the campus bookstore and copy center, faculty offices, the college presidents suite, lecture rooms, digital media programs, financial aid and student counseling services and as well as Extended Opportunity and Disabled Student Programs & Services suites. The project scope also included the complete demolition and modernization and accessibility upgrades of the existing campus walkways, lighting and landscape features reaching out over 60 acres. 

The program required the team to pursue LEED Silver certification for both facilities. However, during the collaborative design-build process led by McCarthy, the team quickly identified unique opportunities to maximize credits that could potentially achieve LEED Gold status. The decision was made to raise the bar and commit to exceeding the owners expectations by delivering LEED Gold buildings for no additional cost. 

In order to achieve the team’s collective sustainability goals, LEED considerations were the subject of every design meeting with ongoing reviews of the LEED scorecard to develop the design strategy. A primary effort of this project was replacing the four existing cast-in-place concrete buildings with the new Health and Wellness and College Center buildings. The design-build team recognized that crushing the concrete material from the demolished buildings and reusing this as an aggregate base under the new sidewalks, roadways and parking lots to be constructed would have a significant sustainable impact. In addition, McCarthy also recycled all of rebar removed from the concrete and other metal materials, such as window and door frames, doors, hardware, etc.

The Health and Wellness Building was a logical chance to provide 100 percent outside air and 100 percent exhaust air to maintain a superior level of indoor air quality. The College of San Mateo wanted to ensure the building had a high level of fresh air knowing the combination of a full-scale fitness center and cosmetology suite would produce a malodorous environment. The region’s temperate environment provided an excellent opportunity to utilize a 100 percent outside-air design; however, a system that brings in 100 percent outside air can challenge energy inefficiency. Therefore, the HVAC system was designed with a heat recovery run around coil utilizing the warmer air exhausted from the building to offset the heating required by the hot water system. This addition, as well as an extremely efficient Central Plant design, assisted in this building outperforming Title 24 by more than 40 percent – a significant component of the LEED Gold requirements.

To qualify for LEED Gold on both new buildings, the following environmental elements were also incorporated: use of structural steel framing; selection and installation of materials, such as linoleum flooring, that resulted in 32 percent of the total building materials being manufactured from recycled materials; use of low-emitting materials; integration of sun shading devices to diffuse direct sunlight and enhance thermal comfort; design and installation of energy efficient mechanical and electrical systems resulting in energy efficiency that exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2004 by 36 percent and 44 percent for each building, respectively; stormwater management through the use of bio-retention basins and Kristar media filtration units; water efficient landscaping; and the conservation of potable water use by 44 percent.   

The achievement of LEED Gold for both buildings was the result of the design-build team focusing in on every sustainable opportunity available to the project. This process was led by McCarthy over the course of design and furthered by the true collaboration of the entire team bringing their knowledge and expertise to the process. This effort ultimately led to exceeding the LEED Silver requirement and delivering LEED Gold instead.

With an already stressed budget, the owner was looking to McCarthy for creative, out-of-the-box thinking to maximize value for the construction budget. The on-site re-use of the concrete provided significant cost savings by not only eliminating the need to off-haul and dispose of the demolished material, but also eliminating any need to purchase and import new aggregate base required underneath the new paved areas. Through effective leveraging of the project's Site Logistical Plan and pre-planning with the owner, the College of San Mateo CIP2 successfully diverted more than 96 percent of construction waste (approximately 16,000 tons) from landfills.  

The Health and Wellness Building was honored with the 2011 Sustainable San Mateo County Green Building Award for Non Residential buildings, an award recognizing outstanding construction projects designed and built in accordance with principles of sustainable resource use and environmental sensitivity. The College Center building will be up for this award in 2012. Both buildings were also enrolled in the PG&E Savings by Design (SBD) Program, which rewards owners for their commitment to sustainability by designing highly energy efficient buildings.

Design-Build Architects:
Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning, San Francisco
LPA, Inc., Irvine, Calif.

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