LEED BD+C: New Construction v2009
Bay Area Chinese Bible Church
LEED Silver 2012
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
The Bay Area Chinese Bible Church's goal was to demonstrate leadership and social/community responsibility by serving as a role model. Their primary objectives were:
- To fulfill our Christian duty as responsible managers (Genesis 1:28) of God's creation.
- To set a good example to future generations that we should value God's creation.
- To contribute a safe and healthy gathering space for our new community.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
The owner took a value-driven approach to LEED and had an overarching goal to promote stewardship of energy and material resources. This focus allowed them to fix their attention on the underlying purpose of LEED credits and provide the best solution for their project and situation.
Since many on the construction team were not experienced with the documentation of LEED credits, we divided up the tasks. The construction team was responsible for collecting the onsite information and the project's LEED consultant-Rebuild Consulting-reviewed that information and uploaded it for the construction team's review and approval. With Rebuild's extensive LEED knowledge and experience, we were able to leverage their familiarity with documentation and rely on the construction team for implementation.
Photo by Daniel Peak
Young athletes enjoying heightened indoor air quality and lighting.
Innovate and Educate
We are most proud of the innovation and design credits where we were able to develop strategies for sustainability education beyond the standard strategies. We developed information in both English and Chinese to communicate about the building, developed Sunday School lessons to teach children about stewardship both from the building and also the Bible, and also encourage the leadership to develop a teaching series for the weekly services for the whole community.
Additional green features include:
- Green Power - BACBC offsets energy use by purchasing wind power renewable energy certificates
- Cool Roof - the roof is lined with high solar reflectance materials, which reduces the heat island effect, reduces the need for air conditioning, thus reducing energy bills and wear and tear on the building's HVAC system
- Building energy use is designed to be 20% below California Energy Code requirements (Title 24), resulting in an estimated $41,000 in savings per year
- 36% Water Savings Reduction
- 32% Of Materials Came from Regional Sources
- Diverted 95% of construction waste from landfill
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
While the church leadership and design team philosophically supported "creation care" it was our project manager (Evelyn Johnson) that was able to drive the implementation of the LEED strategies in creative and very cost effective ways. Some of the initial estimates from project teams for the documentation of LEED certification would not have worked in our already minimal budget. As a non-affiliated church our funding is totally from the congregation. This is possibly a model to encourage more faith-based LEED certified projects. That is to have project managers trained by other experienced project managers like ours so that it can be accomplished within the budget.
Photo by Daniel Peak
Carefully designed interior spaces for a comfortable and healthy worship center.
Some of the initial cost estimates received from our design and construction team to complete the LEED certification documentation would not fit within our project budget and still meet our certification goal. The project needed an expert in LEED credit documentation to lower the costs with a streamlined approach. The project team contracted Rebuild Consulting to help represent the LEED and sustainability initiatives for the owner. Rebuild also led the effort of negotiating with the other team members to implement and document credits in an efficient way. The value of working with a dedicated LEED consultant helped ensure that sustainability goals were met within the project scope and budget.
The work was creatively divided up to minimize the burden of documentation on the construction team. Rebuild Consulting helped streamline the LEED certification documentation in order to internally document as many of the site and ID credits that we could with implementation information from the construction team. We created very specific task lists of what each credit would need, who would be responsible for implementation, and who would ultimately document each credit. We reviewed each other's work frequently to make sure we were collecting the correct information and that it was a perfect representation of what was implemented on our project.
In addition, Environmental Building Strategies (EBS), a high performance building consultant and engineering firm was brought on for energy modeling. EBS' detailed energy model that took into consideration daylight harvesting, lighting power densities, high efficiency HVAC package units and utility cost data that helped the non-profit make well informed decisions when choosing between possible energy efficiency measures.
Another significant success of the project was the commissioning of the building. EBS' onsite testing revealed some important issues with the design, construction and programming of the building, which needed to be corrected to ensure energy efficiency, indoor air quality and optimal equipment operation. For example, some of the air filters were not properly fitted and were dropping out of the HVAC Units. By catching and correcting this issue, the building will have much better indoor air quality making for a healthier facility. In addition, the commissioning authority noticed that the HVAC Units were not programmed to follow a time schedule and was therefore running at full capacity 24/7. As the building is not occupied continuously through the day, EBS provided guidance on utilizing the HVAC only when the building is occupied in order to avoid wasting energy and unnecessary HVAC wear.
Photo by Daniel Peak
Due to a detailed and project-specific commissioning / quality assurance testing method, many building discrepancies were noticed and corrected. This ensured a healthy, comfortable and productive environment for building occupants. As a result of the energy modeling and mechanical systesmsystem commissioning, the building was designed to operate at 20% below California Energy Code requirements, resulting in an estimated $41,000 in savings per year.
Trying to earn the Public Transportation credit was one of our biggest challenges of the project.
The project is sited in a unique location near many office buildings and regular public transportation access during the week for students in addition to our own buses and shuttle services. However, there is little transportation provided by the city during the weekend. As a result, the church developed its own shuttle service that ran on a regular loop each Sunday morning, and would also pick people up if they called.
We really felt like this strategy met the intent of the LEED credit and provided everyone with easy access to the facility. But our unique case wasn't accepted by the reviewer and thus, we were not able to achieve the LEED Gold certification we had set as our goal. There is little we could have done in this situation because regular transportation in our area is under control by the business corporations and the county.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
Applying LEED to this project allowed us to translate our Christian value of God's creation in a tangible way, impart this value to future generations, and express our care for our community.
It also reminded me that while we did get LEED certification, that isn't the end goal. We need to continue to live out this value in our current congregation and school through ongoing projects and education. We still have more to do. For example, ongoing teaching in worship services and in our school about "creation care", encouraging everyone to use the hand blowers to dry their hands instead of paper towels in the rest rooms, and developing a more extensive recycling program.
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