Gerding Edlen Paints San Diego Civic Center Complex Many Shades of Green

Jul 23, 2008

Plan calls for high performance buildings that meet LEED Platinum rating

Proposed design for the sustainably designed, mixed-use San Diego Civic Center

san diego – Gerding Edlen Development, one of the nation’s most accomplished developers of sustainably designed mixed-use urban projects, has announced plans to redevelop the downtown San Diego Civic Center complex in many shades of green.

From solar photovoltaic panels and garden rooftops to wind turbines and a central cooling and heating plant, the proposed new city hall and council chambers – along with adjacent cultural, residential and office buildings – would meet or exceed the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating.

The biggest sustainability component will be an onsite wastewater treatment and reclamation system that will achieve a net-zero water system for the entire complex.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity for the city and its residents to create a civic center complex that will thrive – economically, socially and just as importantly – environmentally,” said Tom Cody, principal of Gerding Edlen, a Portland-based company that has developed 39 LEED-certified projects.

The 12-year-old company most recently was honored for creating Los Angeles’ first green neighborhood in downtown L.A.’s South Park, and the country’s greenest condominium and first LEED Platinum condominium project in the world, The Casey in downtown Portland.  Included in Gerding Edlen’s South Park project are California’s first and second LEED Gold condominium buildings.  

In addition, Gerding Edlen developed one of the largest LEED Platinum projects in the nation – the 16-story, 412,000-square-foot Oregon Health & Science University Center for Health & Healing at the South Waterfront in Portland.

Having a greener urban core was among the top priorities expressed by San Diegans during a series of public input sessions the developer held prior to submitting its proposal earlier this month to the Centre City Development Corporation, the city’s downtown redevelopment agency.  “Family-friendly, pedestrian-oriented, multi-functioning open spaces and environmentally sensitive buildings are very important elements folks expressed for the new civic center complex,” noted Cody.

Designed by Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Architects in association with MW Steele Group and Spurlock Poirier Landscape Architects of San Diego, the new 34-story City Hall will incorporate a comprehensive list of sustainable design principles that will achieve “enormous energy and water savings with little to no capital burden to the city,” explained Cody. 

From its curved shape to harness the wind and the specific site location and placement of the building for solar exposure – to its net-zero water use system and hydronic HVAC system, the goal is for City Hall to be its own on-site renewable power source.

The impressive-looking building, with its aluminum framed glass exterior walls, also features rooftop wind turbines and solar panels, exterior sun shadings as well as the most energy efficient and environmentally friendly materials and construction practices.

Beyond City Hall, future phases of the civic center complex – which include two mixed-use residential/hotel/office towers, a renovated Civic Theatre and new fire station – will also encompass sustainable design practices and display green-tinted elements such as solar panels and green roofs.

A district energy system that centralizes heating and cooling components as well as the wastewater treatment and reclamation for all the buildings would also be created for the complex. Gerding Edlen is proposing a partnership with NRG Energy Inc., the downtown district chilled water system operator, to connect with the existing plant and build a new on-site facility for the Civic Center Complex as well as private customers. This and other strategies will allow the Civic Center to aggressively curb energy consumption and heighten sustainability without incurring any additional cost in operation.

“From the shared underground parking to the green rooftops, we’ve thoughtfully designed City Hall and the entire complex to be sustainably superior and reign as the city’s model for green development,” said Cody, whose firm has captured dozens of industry awards for its environmentally sensitive buildings throughout the West Coast.

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Gerding Edlen

Gerding Edlen is considered one of the nation’s leading experts in developing and managing green buildings, with an emphasis on developing properties that build community and positively reflect lifestyles of the future. Gerding Edlen is a full service real estate investment, development and asset/property management firm with a depth of experience in sustainable development and renewable energy. Recognized for their socially responsible approach to real estate investment, Gerding Edlen is one of the world's leading developers of LEED Certified properties with over 40 certified or registered LEED projects. Since 1996, the firm has developed more than 60 green projects throughout the Western United States.

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