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Santa Clara County Crime Lab Receives Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The Santa Clara County Crime Lab has been awarded the prestigious LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its outstanding energy efficient features and use of sustainable building materials. Today, County officials and staff gathered to unveil the LEED Gold plaque at the Crime Lab.

"I am proud of the leadership role Santa Clara County has taken in combating climate change," said President Ken Yeager, County Board of Supervisors. “This certification marks an important milestone in our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The program uses a point-based system to evaluate a building in six areas: sustainable site design, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design.

“The U.S. Green Building Council salutes the County of Santa Clara on achieving LEED Gold on the Santa Clara County Crime Laboratory,” said Dan Geiger, Executive Director of U.S. Green Building Council - Northern California Chapter. “The benefits of this project are particularly noteworthy, as one of the first crime laboratories in California to receive LEED Gold.”

The LEED rating system provides up to 69 points for new construction. Based on the points a building receives, it may qualify for one of the four levels of LEED certification: Certified (26-32 points), Silver (33-38 points), Gold (39-51 points) and Platinum (52 points and above). The County’s Crime Lab qualifies for 39 points and rated “Gold.”

The Crime Lab has a number of sustainable features including the following:

  • Use of occupancy censors, energy-efficient lighting fixtures to reduce electricity consumption;
  • All paints, flooring, sealants and furniture with low or zero volatile organic compounds to ensure contaminant - free air;
  • A construction waste management program diverting more than 95% of all materials from landfill - over 2,166 tons;
  • Smart irrigation control system that uses data from on onsite weather station to adjust irrigation, reducing use of water in landscaping by 50%;
  • Use of reclaimed (non-potable) water for irrigation and toilets to conserve potable water;
  • Over 20% of the materials harvested or manufactured regionally; and
  • An onsite storm water treatment system that removes 80% of suspended solids from leaving the site.

"I am so proud that our Crime Lab is constructed to LEED rated standards," said District Attorney Dolores Carr. "The lab has both the most advanced technology, and is also environmentally sound."

The County’s health centers, including Valley Specialty Center, Valley Health Center Gilroy, Valley Health Center Sunnyvale, Valley Health Center Milpitas, are also designed and constructed to the same “green” standards as the Crime Lab, although currently, there is no LEED certification for medical buildings.

About the Crime Lab
The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Crime Laboratory is a nationally accredited forensic laboratory servicing all criminal justice agencies in the county. The examiners evaluate and analyze evidence, interpret results, provide expert testimony related to the full spectrum of physical evidence recovered from crime scenes, and offer technical assistance and training to all user agencies. Service is provided in the major analytical disciplines of controlled substance analysis, firearms/tool marks, forensic biology (DNA), forensic toxicology, latent print processing, questioned documents, trace evidence, and computer crimes. Thousands of evidence items are analyzed in the lab each year.

The Santa Clara County Crime Lab was constructed in 2006 and completed in 2009. The building was designed by HDR Architecture, constructed by S.J. Amoroso, and managed by the County’s Facilities and Fleet Department Capital Programs Division. Total construction cost of the project was $47 million.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Lingxia Meng, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Ken Rado, Capital Programs (408) 497-0499
Posted: October 22, 2010