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)

  • Site Selection – project avoids flood plains, wetlands, major wildlife habitats, and farmland

  • Public Transportation Access – project served by 2 bus lines

  • Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms – bicycle storage facilities and showers provided for building users

  • Fuel Efficient Vehicles – 24 preferred parking places designated for electrical car charging stations and low-emitting vehicles

  • Parking Capacity – on-site parking provided with designated car/van pool parking

  • Protect and Restore Habitat – more than 50% of site (excluding building footprint) re-vegetated using native or adaptive plantings

  • Storm Water Quality and Quantity Control – storm water management system implemented

  • Heat Island Effect: Roof – requirements met through combination of reflective roofing materials and vegetated roofs

  • Heat Island Effect: Non-Roof – site paving is limited due to all parking being internal to building

Water Efficiency (3 of 5 possible credits)

  • Water Efficient Landscaping – installed irrigation systems reduce potable water consumption by 91.3% from national baseline established by the U.S. Green Building Council

  • Water Use Reduction – installed low flow plumbing fixtures reduce potable water use by 45% from national baseline established by the U.S. Green Building Council

Energy and Atmosphere (11 of 17 possible credits)

  • Optimize Energy Performance – 30% better, compared to the standard that LEED has adopted from ASHRAE

  • On-Site Renewable Energy – 7.7% of the project’s energy cost is being offset by renewable energy generated onsite

  • Enhanced Commissioning – on-site performance testing of all mechanical systems prior to full operation by independent agents who have also reviewed all initial designs

  • Enhanced Refrigerant Management – HVAC and refrigerant systems use no refrigerants such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), minimizing emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion

Materials and Resources (6 of 13 possible credits)

  • Construction Waste Management – diverting 75% from disposal

  • Recycled Content – sum of post-consumer recycled content and one-half of pre-consumer content constitutes more than 20% of total cost value of the project’s materials

  • Regional Materials – 10% extracted, processed, and manufactured regionally

  • Certified Wood – at least 50% of wood-based structural materials and finishes from environmentally-responsible forests

Indoor Environmental Quality (12 of 15 possible credits)

  • Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring – ventilation monitored by carbon dioxide (CO2) sensors

  • Construction IAQ Management: During Construction and Before Occupancy – achieving reduction in indoor air quality (IAQ) problems resulting from construction process, in order to help sustain comfort and well-being of construction workers and building occupants

  • Low Emitting Materials – requirements met for adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, carpets, composite wood and agrifiber products

  • Controlled Lighting and Thermal Comfort – requirements met for enhanced individual controllability

  • Thermal Comfort Design and Verification – achieving compliance with comfort criteria that has been set for all building occupants

Innovation and Design Process (5 of 5 possible credits)

  • NOAA implementing U.S. Green Building Education Program for building occupants, as well as for visitors

  • NOAA implementing Green Cleaning Program

  • Achieving exemplary performance in Water Efficiency – 15 percentage points beyond LEED’s water efficiency other credits

  • Achieving exemplary performance in Heat Island Effect: Non-Roof – due to 100% of paved parking being covered rather than reflecting heat back into the atmosphere

  • LEED accredited professionals involved throughout project’s design and construction
Last modified: 2/2/2015