CalPERS Expansion Project

The building designs of CalPERS headquarters building, past and present, reflect the System's longstanding and forward-thinking commitment to energy efficiency.

Current "green building" technology makes it possible to increase the performance of buildings while conserving energy and protecting the environment. Emerging technology also provides an economic basis for changing the way that we build to restrain operating costs, improve worker efficiency, and increase durability for combined long-term savings. There is considerable opportunity for savings since buildings account for about 36 percent of total energy use and 65 percent of electricity consumption in the United States, researchers report.

CalPERS home - Lincoln Plaza - constructed two decades ago, broke new ground with features that typically reduce summer electrical usage by more than 70,000 kilowatt-hours.

The 560,000 square foot expansion office project moves the bar of green building technology even higher, incorporating several green building design goals. For example:

  • The focus on energy conservation prompted the design team to employ passive architectural systems, including tiered shading devices, trellises, and connections to the outdoors that modulate the heat and capture cooling prevailing winds.
  • Alternative energy sources include an 87-kilowatt array of photovoltaic panels installed on the roof to generate solar power.
  • The air conditioner's waste heat recovery system generates hot water. Combined with passive systems, the innovations may save an estimated 38 percent more energy than industry building industry mandates.
  • To conserve resources, designers incorporated bamboo floors, recycled products, and locally manufactured materials. CalPERS also requested the use of wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to reduce the impact on old-growth forests and impingement on the lands of Native Americans.
  • Since it is located in a dense urban area, the project also complies with construction standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in respect to floodplains and wetlands. It also follows the principle of transit-oriented design, having been sited within ½ mile of a light-rail station and ¼ mile of a bus stop.
  • Builders were able to divert construction waste by 75 percent, and as much as 10 percent of materials had recycled content. At least 20 percent of building materials were manufactured within 500 miles of the project.
  • To reduce water consumption, high efficiency technology irrigates the landscape, which has native drought-tolerant plants to enhance water efficiency on the site.

Sustainably designed buildings take less of a toll on the environment than conventionally designed structures. They also enhance the health of workers and promise potential higher productivity and job performance - and diminished absenteeism and inefficiency. The goal: to sit lightly on the land while improving the bottom line.

Dated: 02-11-2013