Storyboard to Zero at Greenbuild 2022

In San Mateo County, California, climate change is already a headline: everyday we hear stories of increasing fire risk, poor air quality from smoke, dangers of sea level rise, strains of drought, and warming temperatures. Our attentiveness to local climate change needs must be written into how a Civic building works, looks, and feels. As a symbol of government, these projects hold a special place in communicating community values and elevating ideals. Civic projects also must “practice what they preach,” leading on sustainability while asking their residents and businesses to do the same via reach codes.

On November 2, Claire Maxfield will speak at Greenbuild 2022 on the design of the San Mateo Civic Center with Javier Arizmendi and Francesca Oliveira from SOM, and Adam Ely from San Mateo County. Using visual storytelling, they will go behind-the-scenes with the Architect, Environmental Design Consultant, and Client to show how we can all get to Zero. The new Civic Center leads the way on Whole Life Carbon, including Net Zero, all-electric systems, 70% less embodied carbon, and a LEED Platinum target – all on a public budget.

This session illustrates the overall pathway to achieving Net Zero and designing with the lens of Whole Life Carbon while expressing civic values. Sharing our insights into this storyboard with other designers and owners, we will dive deep into four aspects of the design that were turning points in the story of the project’s performance:

  • Embracing carbon savings with a mass timber structure
  • Massing buildings for an aggressively passive design
  • Leveraging a mixed-mode, hydronic conditioning system
  • Procuring cost-neutral on-site renewables using power purchase agreements

Each of these design elements were a critical part of achieving our carbon aspirations, and each could have been derailed without careful attention by the design and buy-in from the owner team.

Join us for a sneak peak at the moves needed for the right decisions on the road to Zero, including technical studies, costing, and design integration.