Wednesday, October 29, 2008

State Fund opens $77M ‘green’ office in Vacaville

State Fund opens $77M ‘green’ office in Vacaville
Sacramento Business Journal
October 28, 2008

State Compensation Insurance Fund, a quasi-public workers’ compensation insurer based in San Francisco, celebrated the opening Tuesday of a new $77 million “green” campus in Vacaville.

It consists of three 85,000-square-foot buildings that house 750 employees who previously worked in leased space in Fairfield, officials said.

Two additional 85,000-square-foot buildings are also part of the long-term plan for the 32-acre site in the Vaca Valley Business Park, according to State Fund’s real estate manager, Denise Burian. But plans to build the additional buildings by 2011 might be delayed, she said.

HOK was the architect for the project; Milpitas-based Devon Construction handled construction. Burian said construction costs were “slightly under $300 per square foot” for the approximately 255,000-square-foot project.

State Fund’s leased Fairfield office is being closed and replaced by the new Vacaville location, said State Fund spokeswoman Jennifer Vargen. Some of the workers in the new facility are information technology staffers, but the majority are customer service/call center employees from Fairfield and back-office workers who handle claims processing, Burian said.

State Fund broke ground on the project in December 2006. At that time, officials described a two-phase, five-building campus that would ultimately house 1,200 workers in 434,375 square feet of space. The first phase of the project was to include two buildings housing about 750 workers, State Fund said at the time. Instead, the first phase was boosted to three buildings, and the second phase may be delayed.

The site is located south of Genentech’s Vacaville facility, and east of Interstate 505.

State Fund said materials once destined for landfills made up more than 20 percent of the building materials used in its construction, including concrete and cork and rubber flooring. Officials expect the site to win Silver LEED certification early next year, according to an Oct. 28 statement.

Among other “green” elements, the new structure features solar panels, low-emitting materials such as adhesives, paints and carpets; energy-efficient light fixtures, lamps, heating and cooling systems and other electrical equipment; and “server virtualization” technology that reduces the number of servers needed to support the facility.

The opportunity to build a new office building from the ground up gave State Fund a chance to go green, president Jan Frank said in the statement. Frank called the project “one step” in the company’s larger efforts to reduce energy consumption, shrink its carbon footprint “and introduce more environmentally friendly practices into the workplace.”

In addition to reducing waste by using recycled building materials, the company said, State Fund diverted 75 percent of construction waste away from landfills to recycling vendors. It also reduced the building’s water consumption requirements by more than 40 percent, by incorporating low-flow toilets, waterless urinals, and an irrigation system using non-potable water.

As a result, officials said, the building’s energy performance is 18 percent better than required by California’s Title 24 energy efficiency standards for residential and non-residential buildings.

State Fund is one of the state’s largest workers’ compensation insurers, generating nearly $2.3 billion in 2007 premium volume.