La Jolla Laboratory Replacement Project - LEED Certification

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a building certification system and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council ( previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries Disclaimer in 2000, LEED provides a framework for validating a project’s green features.    

Within each of seven LEED credit categories, projects must satisfy particular prerequisites and earn credits; the number of credits the project earns determines the level of LEED Certification. The final tally of credits is based on strategies that will have greater positive impacts on what matters most – energy efficiency and CO2 reductions.  Since its inception, the NOAA building design team aimed for the highest possible rating under LEED and the project is expected to receive Gold certification.

Points are earned for: Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy and Atmosphere (EA), Materials and Resources (MR) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ).  Additional points can also be earned for Innovation in Design (ID), which addresses sustainable building expertise as well as design measures not covered under the five environmental categories.

Laboratories have unique operating requirements that present challenges for energy efficiency and sustainable design. Labs on average use about 5 times more energy per square foot thana typical office building. This is primarily due to requirements for increased ventilation and the use of equipment and fume hoods.  To improve environmental performance of public and private laboratory buildings, the design team utilized performance criteria from the Laboratories for the 21st Century (Labs21) Program ( previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries Disclaimer which leverages and builds onthe LEED rating system to set appropriate and specific requirements for laboratories.

The design team followed an integrated sustainable design process that started by working with NOAA to identify its sustainability-related goals and priorities in terms of building and environmental performance, and environmental and life cycle cost benefits.  The NOAA laboratory is now solidly on target to achieve a Gold rating when completed (the second highest category) with 47 out of the 69 total credits under LEED for New Construction (NC), Version 2.2. The building joins only a small handful of other LEED Gold certified buildings in San Diego.

LEED certification also makes business sense. The energy efficient features of the new NOAA building are expected to provide 28% annual cost savings in operating costs (estimated at $119,000/year) above the standard that LEED adopted from ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating & Air Conditioning Engineers).

SWFSC's La Jolla Laboratory LEED Certification PDF 

Preliminary estimates of the SWFSC La Jolla Laboratory's LEED credits are:

Sustainable Sites (10 of 14 possible credits)

Water Efficiency (3 of 5 possible credits)

Energy and Atmosphere (11 of 17 possible credits)

Materials and Resources (6 of 13 possible credits)

Indoor Environmental Quality (12 of 15 possible credits)

Innovation and Design Process (5 of 5 possible credits)