Randall Lamb Association

LEED-CS Platinum Certification at Alexandria Real Estate’s 259 East Grand

October 13, 2014

Having successfully navigated Alexandria Real Estate (ARE) to LEED success for their first building at their East Grand site in South San Francisco, Randall Lamb was retained to accomplish the same feat for their second building. The 249 East Grand (249EG) building was the first structure built on a property, which will ultimately house four tenant facilities as well as a parking structure. The goal for 249EG was to meet the stringent requirements for LEED-CS certification. The challenge was accepted by the design + construction team and expectations were ultimately exceeded by the team’s ability to obtain that Certification.

Motivated by their environmentally responsible accomplishment made at 249EG, ARE continued to raise their standards in building the absolute finest facilities for their tenants. The design and construction team for the 259EG site (their 2nd facility on this property) was presented with a new mission: Build a LEED-CS Platinum Certified building. Throughout the planning process, the design team collectively worked together to determine how to make this facility unique and deserve the highest rating of the USGBC. In the end, it was ARE who actively engaged each team member which led to Randall Lamb investigating a renewable energy resource such as solar power. As project team administrator for this LEED-CS Platinum endeavor, Randall Lamb diligently worked on making this solar concept a reality.

Through communications with PG&E’s renewable energy services, the California Solar Initiative and solar outfitters referred by respected industry colleagues, Randall Lamb shortlisted a group of solar vendors willing and able to work at this site. After an initial performance study was conducted by the various participants, an economic analysis was completed and evaluated. In the end, Coldwell Solar was awarded the project.

One of the major challenges for this site was discovering available real estate for the photovoltaic (PV) cells. The initial performance goal for the site was to meet the requirements of the on-site renewable energy credit EA 2.0. This requires that a minimum of 1% of the total energy cost of the facility is offset by on-site generated renewable energy. This minimum requirement was quickly surpassed by the objective of capturing as much solar power as possible. This lead to the idea of erecting carports and populating the roofs of these structures with PV cells. ARE builds lab spaces for a variety of pharmaceutical, biotech and life science tenants, and these types of facilities are traditionally heavy utility users with complex MEP systems. With limited rooftop space available due to central plant requirements, the carport option became necessary.

After a lengthy coordination period, Coldwell Solar was able to offer a turn-key solution to make solar energy a viable solution for this challenging site. The resulting performance calculations and savings for the system offered by Coldwell were exceptional. In the end, 259EG was able to offset 37.5% of its annual energy costs. The system is predicted to generate 476.5 KW AC power or 770,665 kWh annually. In addition to the energy savings, the project obtained 18 points toward LEED-CS Certification for this system alone. The facility was awarded with the desired LEED-CS Platinum Certification and is destined to be used as a benchmark for future projects by ARE as an example of one of their finest facilities. The above video representation of the comprehensive layout of the solar array is from our friends at Coldwell Solar.

Posted in Clean Energy, Project Insights