News Releases

Salinas Valley State Prison Building Becomes First LEED Certified Facility for California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Efficient Design in Mental Health Treatment Facility Cuts Water Use in Half, Energy Use by One-Third

SOLEDAD — The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) announced today that Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP), CDCR’s newest high-security facility, has earned a Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction v2.1 rating system. The SVSP facility earned a score of 33 points, which is above the LEED certified level. The achievement marks the first LEED certification for the State’s Prison system, first called for under Governor Schwarzenegger’s Executive Order #S-20-04, which required the design, construction and operation of all new state-owned facilities to be LEED certified.

“CDCR has shown leadership in conserving energy on a grand scale, through reducing electricity usage to saving water,” said CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate. The Salinas Valley State Prison staff and contractors worked hard to make sure this new facility was LEED certified, our first prison to achieve such a designation in California. Our goal is to make all future prisons LEED certified, a standard.”

The 36,500 square-foot, 64-bed mental health treatment facility provides housing and inpatient mental health care for inmates.

LEED Silver criteria demanded that the project obtain points in multiple categories that promote occupant well being and lessen the building’s environmental impacts. The most notable achievements at the SVSP facility are in energy, water conservation and waste management. The project reduced potable water use by a remarkable 56 percent, an important achievement in this arid climate where water is a precious commodity. It improved anticipated energy performance by 37 percent over the baseline standards for a similar facility, and lowered sewage conveyance by nearly 70 percent through a state-of-the-art vacuum plumbing system. The building at Salinas is one of a very few prison facilities in the United States to use vacuum plumbing, and the first in CDCR’s system.

The project team included stakeholders from CDCR, Program Manager Kitchell CEM, Nacht & Lewis Architects, mechanical engineers from Capital Engineering, electrical engineers from CB Engineering and the general contractor, Roebbelen Contracting Incorporated. Green Building Services assisted the project team with establishing the sustainability objectives and the LEED certification process.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building program is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The LEED green building rating system was developed and is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. It is designed to promote design and construction practices that reduce operating costs and the negative environmental impacts of buildings while improving occupant health and well-being. LEED certification, which includes a rigorous third-party commissioning process, offers compelling proof to your organization, your staff, and the public at large that you’ve achieved your environmental goals and your building is performing as designed. Getting LEED certified illustrates how the CDCR is supporting the State of California goals for reducing energy use and green house gas emissions.

In January, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that the California Building Standards Commission unanimously adopted the first-in-the-nation mandatory Green Building Standards Code (CALGREEN) requiring all new buildings in the state to be more energy efficient and environmentally responsible. Taking effect on January 1, 2011, these comprehensive regulations will achieve major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption and water use to create a greener California.

Although CALGREEN was not in place when this project was being designed, the SVSP project team has integrated measures that are compliant with both LEED and CALGREEN. Specific energy performance measures, construction waste management plans, the reduction of water and material resources and building commissioning will link this project with CALGREEN requirements.

For more on this topic, see:

Link to photographs
Link to CDCR’s Energy Savings Website
CALGreen press release