Today, the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority announced that the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the Foothill Gold Line Operations Campus main shop building its Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification.
The recognition for the 132,000 square foot building is one of the highest levels of achievement in sustainable design available, and makes it the first of its kind to receive the distinction. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.
"We challenged ourselves to look for ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the facility, because we believed that the extra effort would be worth it in the long term for the environment, community and the staff who would be working there," stated Habib F. Balian, CEO of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. "Achieving LEED Gold for this kind of facility is a proud testament to the ingenuity of our team and our partners at Parsons, Kiewit and Metro."
While sustainability measures were incorporated throughout the 24-acre maintenance and operations facility, only those associated with the main shop building were factored into consideration by the U.S. Green Building Council in their certification award. The three-story main building houses offices and training facilities for 200 employees, a yard control room to manage all train activities on the campus, and repair and maintenance shops to service up to 84 light rail vehicles. Using the following sustainability features, the building was able to achieve 35% water usage reduction and 32.5% energy performance improvement, as compared to typical buildings of its kind:
- An on-site 714-panel, 178.5-kilowatt solar panel array that generates nearly a third of the energy needs of the main shop building, with excess energy made available to the local grid
- Solar-tracking skylights that move with the sun to maximize use of natural light
- Sensors that detect human motion as well as the level of natural light available and adjust the high-efficiency LED lighting for actual need
- High-efficiency fixtures and infrared water faucets that dispense less water
Additional sustainability features incorporated into the overall 24-acre facility that went above and beyond those needed to achieve LEED Gold Certification include:
- A comprehensive stormwater management system that captures 100% of rainfall; filtering and infiltrating the first 112,000 gallons during any rain event into the groundwater aquifers below
- Use of only recycled, reclaimed water for the carwash, which averages 60,000 gallons of water use daily
- Smart sprinkler technology and the planting of a drought-tolerant plants that reduce landscape water consumption by 50%
- Use of recycled materials for half of the building materials used on site; and locally sourcing all of the track ballast, aggregate and concrete to reduce the environmental impact of transporting them to the site
"We've shown that it is feasible to incorporate sustainability features into a facility of this magnitude without significantly impacting the construction budget and schedule," added Balian. "Our hope is that this will be a model for other, similar facilities."