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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Case study of CalSTRS headquarters


It is a widely accepted fact that buildings must use less energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to help mitigate global climate change. At the same time, buildings are for people: to succeed they must also provide environments that suit their intended occupants. Researchers usually consider these two criteria – reducing GHG emissions and providing good environments for their occupants -- separately despite their close relationship; buildings generally require energy and emit GHGs to produce suitable environments. This building performance case study presents findings about energy use and occupant sentiment together, seeking to uncover new relationships between the two concerns. It considers the designers, owners, operators and occupants’ contributions and relationship to energy use in the California State Teachers Retirement System

(CalSTRS) Headquarters building in West Sacramento, California. More specifically, the study investigates how the design and operations processes contribute to the building’s low source energy use intensity, as indicated by its ENERGY STAR rating of 95, while maintaining high occupant satisfaction ratings for building features and indoor environmental quality (IEQ.) The study reviews these satisfaction ratings in light of the low measured energy intensity.

This report addresses issues commonly observed in green building design and operations; and the recommendations it includes suggest ways to enhance the design process, improve operations efficiency and increase occupant satisfaction. For these reasons, this report is particularly useful to designers of green office buildings and members of organizations that own and/or operate office buildings.

Findings were developed from surveys and interviews of building occupants, building operators, owners’ representatives and facilities staff. These surveys and interviews were performed during spring 2011 and were conducted in close collaboration with Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum (HOK) staff. The project was a collaboration between Center for the Built Environment at the University of California, Berkeley, and Portland

State University.

The report proceeds as follows. We begin with a description of the building and its physical context, followed by a discussion of the data and methods used. A discussion of findings is next. Findings related to building performance are presented first, followed by findings related to operations. A summary completes the report

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