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Sustainable Design
Sustainable Goals and Features
Sustainability has been a San José City Hall program goal since conceptual design began in early 1999. Since that time, the city has embarked upon an effort to implement a Green Building Policy based on the U.S. Green Building Council's whole building rating system, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

LEED establishes four levels of green building certification, each based on cumulative points earned through design conformance to published LEED sustainability criteria. Formal LEED certification requires an application, documentation, and verification process initiated at the start of design.

Although City Hall design began well before the city's policy development effort, the project goal is to incorporate as many green building features as feasible for maximize sustainability:
  • High-performance exterior glazing to meet or exceed more restrictive state energy code requirements that went into effect June 2001
  • A combination of exterior and interior shading devices that exclude solar heat and reduce cooling energy consumption
  • Light building color that absorbs less summer sun, reducing cooling energy demand
  • Day lighting of interior spaces to minimize artificial lighting demand, with photocell control
  • High-efficiency equipment and motors throughout to minimize operating demand
  • Programmable building automation system to allow optimizing systems and equipment operation in response to building occupancy and use patterns
  • Toilet and equipment make up supply water, plumbing will be configured for future conversion to reclaimed water

Alternatives for introducing natural ventilation sustainability are under study to reduce daily / seasonal mechanical cooling energy.

Sustainable Design Package
City Hall also includes other sustainable design features that are included in the Sustainable Design Package for the project as a whole: 
  • Transportation
    • Multiple modes of arrival at building, provision of bike racks
    • Provide electric car rechargers
    • Promote car-pooling and use of public transportation
  • Materials
    • Low emissions, in particular, volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
    • Resource manufacturers of recycled materials to save energy and cost
  • Color
    • Light interior colors create feeling of higher light levels reducing need for artificial light sources
    • Light exterior colors increase reflectance, lowering heat gain
  • Energy
    • High performance glazing (exceeds T-24)
    • Orientation along east-west axis minimizes solar gain
    • Sun shading on glazing
    • High insulation facade (exceeds T-24)
    • Detailing, weather stripping, and sealing of the envelope to prevent convective losses
  • Lighting
    • Rely on task lighting in lieu of lighting areas to level required for working
  • Landscaping
    • Use water-efficient irrigation systems
    • Landscape design minimizes runoff, maximizes rainwater penetration (if no underground parking)
    • Use plants to mitigate climate conditions (shade, windbreaks, etc.)
  • Construction
    • Demolition waste recycling
    • Require contractor to instigate recycling and utilize environmentally sensitive techniques
    • Strive for paperless design in construction (electronic filing)
  • Garage
    • Carbon monoxide control system, if underground
  • System
    • Utilize variable air volume (VAV) air systems in offices
    • Utilize displacement ventilation in high-volume spaces
    • Building Energy Management Control System (BEMCS)
  • Air Quality
    • High quality filtration (ASRAE standards 90-95%)
    • Pre-occupancy building purge-run systems at full exhaust to exhaust off-gassing pollution prior to occupancy
  • Refrigerants
    • Use low ODP and GWP refrigerants in chillers
  • Pollutants
    • Low NOX producing boilers
  • Water
    • Low water-use toilets
  • Recycling
    • Provide space to facilitate recycling programs, office and cafeteria waste
  • Commissioning
    • Require commissioning of building prior to opening, make sure all systems are operating together and as designed (this is different than "test and balance")
  • Maintenance
    • Provide maintenance space in equipment rooms; BEMCS includes maintenance software; ensure that equipment performs at highest efficiency, minimizes replacement and downtime
    • Enhanced Sustainable Design Features
  • Day lighting
    • Atriums and day lighting sunshades maximize daylight penetration and occupant connection with exterior
    • Integrate daylight with other building systems and strategies
  • Mechanical System
    • Augment air distribution with natural ventilation system (operable windows)
  • Gray Water System
    • Separate gray water system for non-potable purposes
  • Systems Distribution
    • Under floor air distribution system