Kelly Worden
3 minute read

The award celebrates projects that promote health and well-being through all phases of development and operation.

The Green Health Partnership, a research and development initiative between USGBC, the University of Virginia School of Medicine and the USGBC Pacific region communities are excited to announce the projects that are receiving the Building Health Leadership Award at GreenerBuilder in San Francisco.

The Building Health Leadership Award celebrates green building projects that focus on promoting health and well-being throughout all phases of building development and operation. Award recipients go above and beyond standard practice by rigorously considering occupant health during project planning, taking strategic action to promote health and well-being through building certifications and committing to measuring impact.

Recipients of the Building Health Leadership Award at GreenerBuilder include a corporate office, a K–12 school and a university building.

Sonoma Academy Janet Durgin Guild & Commons

New Construction—K–12 School in Santa Rosa, California

Sonoma Academy

Sonoma Academy believes that nature is an asset to learning and can spur curiosity about the interconnection between resources, sustainable practices, food and social justice. For its new building, Sonoma Academy combined LEED, Living Building Challenge and the WELL Building Standard to help them establish specific health goals.

Situated at the base of Taylor Mountain, the building draws inspiration from both the natural and campus context and is carefully located to frame natural views, create outdoor learning spaces and actively engage with its surroundings. The project aims to provide school building users with good indoor air quality, direct access to nature, a design that encourages mobility, and increased student and teacher satisfaction.

Sonoma Academy also works to promote community health by reducing its carbon footprint and supporting native vegetation. Gardens on the school grounds can be viewed from any space and double as learning areas, allowing students to experience the seasons’ changing colors, smells and sounds.

The project is pursuing LEED Platinum certification, along with WELL, zero net energy and Living Building Challenge. In addition to the performance testing required for WELL certification, Sonoma Academy will use the Center for the Built Environment’s occupant survey to help the school assess the impact of building design and operation on the occupant experience.

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, Chou Hall

New Construction—University Building in Berkeley, California

UC Berkeley Haas School of Business Chou Hall

Chou Hall is a completely student-focused building on the University of California, Berkeley's Haas School of Business campus without any offices—only spaces for instruction and collaboration. Designed for both LEED Platinum and WELL Silver certifications, Chou Hall has also received a TRUE Zero Waste Platinum certification, further demonstrating the school’s commitment to promoting both environmental and human health.

The project team used the WELL framework to engage key stakeholders and develop a plan to promote health at the new business school building. By convening a diverse set of stakeholders, the project was able to leverage Berkeley’s University Health Services and the School of Business’s Haas Wellness Culture Assessment to inform the design and development of Chou Hall. This included aligning with the Haas Wellness Culture Assessment.

Upstream planning also allowed the team to achieve synergies across the LEED and WELL frameworks concerning strategies focused on healthy indoor environments. Across all of their buildings, the Haas School of Business prioritizes superior lighting and daylighting, high-performance HVAC design and biophilic design. Moving forward, Chou Hall will use a variety of metrics to ensure the building is performing at a high level, including water quality, air quality and data gathered from robust annual occupancy surveys as part of their Wellness Culture Assessment. 

Salesforce Tower Headquarters Office 

Interior Design and Construction—Office in San Francisco, California

Salesforce Tower headquarters office

Salesforce developed their Design Standard to site, design, construct, operate and maintain sustainable, high-performance workspaces that cultivate innovation, productivity, health and well-being. Salesforce is using this design standard to focus on reducing employee stress, improving cognitive function and reducing toxic exposure for employees at their new headquarters in San Francisco.

Since 2016, Salesforce has been committed to achieving rigorous third-party review of the design and construction of their offices using LEED certification, and Salesforce continues to use their market leadership position to encourage transparency within the materials industry, enabling other projects to more easily achieve the LEED standard.

For their new headquarters, Salesforce is using their internal design standard to inform their approach to LEED, causing them to place a focus on materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and biophilic and active design. Across their entire portfolio, Salesforce Real Estate values high-quality views. They have prioritized equitable access to these views at Salesforce Tower by saving the best views from the building—the Salesforce Park and the Bay Bridge—for the kitchen and lounge areas so that all employees can enjoy them. Once Salesforce completes the interior build-out of their floors in the tower, they will use periodic indoor air quality and thermal comfort assessments to test the impact of their design standard and inform ongoing operations of Salesforce Tower.

These projects were chosen by the Pacific Region Building Health Leadership Awards committee. This committee was composed of the USGBC Northern California Building Health Initiative’s co-chairs, Mara Baum and Frances Yang; USGBC Northern California MLAB Health Champion Christina Weber; USGBC Pacific Region Manager Melanie Colburn; and members of the Green Health Partnership team, including Kelly Worden, from USGBC, Matt Trowbridge, M.D., from the University of Virginia School of Medicine, and Chris Pyke, from Arc Skoru. The Building Health Leadership Award is also issued in partnership with the International WELL Building Institute.