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November 2, 2010 > LEED Gold certification for crime lab

LEED Gold certification for crime lab

Submitted By Gwendolyn Mitchell and Lingxia Meng

Santa Clara County Crime Lab has been awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification by the US Green Building Council for its outstanding energy-efficient features and use of sustainable building materials.

LEED is the nation's pre-eminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The program uses a points-based system to evaluate a building in six areas: sustainable site design, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

"The US Green Building Council salutes the County of Santa Clara on achieving LEED Gold on the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory," said Dan Geiger, Executive Director of US Green Building Council - Northern California Chapter. "The benefits of this project are particularly noteworthy, as one of the first crime laboratories in California to receive LEED Gold."

The LEED rating system provides up to 69 points for new construction. Based on the points a building receives, it may qualify for one of the four levels of LEED certification: Certified (26-32 points), Silver (33-38 points), Gold (39-51 points), and Platinum (52 points and above). The County's Crime Lab qualifies for 39 points and "Gold" rating.

The Crime Lab has a number of sustainable features, such as use of occupancy censors, energy-efficient lighting fixtures to reduce electricity consumption; all paints, flooring, sealants and furniture with low or zero volatile organic compounds to ensure contaminant-free air; a construction waste management program diverting more than 95 percent of all materials from landfill (more than 2,166 tons); smart irrigation control system that uses data from an onsite weather station to adjust irrigation, reducing use of water in landscaping by 50 percent; use of reclaimed (non-potable) water for irrigation and toilets to conserve potable water; more than 20 percent of the materials harvested or manufactured regionally; and an on-site storm water treatment system that removes 80 percent of suspended solids from leaving the site.

"I'm so proud that our Crime Lab is constructed to LEED rated standards," said District Attorney Dolores Carr. "The lab has both the most advanced technology, and is also environmentally sound."

The County's health centers, including Valley Specialty Center, Valley Health Center Gilroy, Valley Health Center Sunnyvale, Valley Health Center Milpitas, are also designed and constructed to the same "green" standards as the Crime Lab, although currently, there is no LEED certification for medical buildings.

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