Wednesday, October 29, 2008

State Fund opens new campus in Vacaville

State Fund opens new campus in Vacaville
By Melissa Murphy
Article Launched: 10/29/2008

Vehicles park under the shade of 1,050 solar panels in the parking lot at a newly completed building in Vacaville. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

Don't be fooled by the new beige building east of Interstate 505 near I-80, it's actually "green."

From the building materials and furniture at the new State Compensation Insurance Fund facility to the plates and eating utensils used in its cafeteria, it was all chosen with one thing in mind -- the environment.

Although about 750 employees moved to the new location earlier this month, Tuesday morning was the official grand opening of the State Fund building.

State Fund is a self-supporting, nonprofit enterprise that provides workers' compensation insurance to California employers at cost with no financial obligation to the public. The new facility will house employees who work on claims and policy processing and information

HOK Project architect Zorana Bosnick (right) speaks at Tuesday's grand opening of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, Vacaville campus. (Rick Roach/The Reporter) technology.

"The construction of a green facility is one step in State Fund's larger effort to implement cost-effective technologies to help us reduce energy consumption, shrink our carbon footprint and introduce more environmentally friendly practices into the workplace," sad Jan Frank, president of State Fund.

Garbage once destined for landfills now comprises more than 20 percent of the building materials used in the new campus, Frank said.

On top of that, State Fund diverted 75 percent of construction waste away from landfills.

Mayor Len Augustine said he was thrilled that such a business like State Fund was able to locate in Vacaville.

"It's a tremendous win for our city," he said. "This represents a real success story. We were in the midst of real competition. It's great to have such an outstanding company in our city."

State Fund Board Member Vincent Mudd said Vacaville was one of seven cities considered.

Although the company is based in San Francisco, Mudd explained that there was definitely a need to build in a location where the majority of its employees live.

"It's a tremendously friendly and helpful city," he said. "Vacaville was clearly at the top."

Even after construction, the new building continues to save, for instance, recycling non-potable water in landscaping in order to reduce water waste and reducing water consumption by installing smart flow sinks, toilets and urinals.

"People need to realize that when we save, we save it forever," Mudd said. "We're part of history."

State Fund is actually receiving slightly more than $1 million in incentives from Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

The facility alone has 300 kilowatt renewable photovoltaic panels, which convert sunlight to electricity, and that reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Officials are hoping that the facility will earn a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification early next year.

The State Fund campus also includes amenities that encourage employees to save, such as, showers and bicycle racks to encourage alternate ways of getting to work.

Other amenities include two bus lines and preferred parking for alternative vehicles and charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles.