OAKLAND, Calif. — The Oakland Zoo Veterinary Hospital is the first of its kind to become LEED Gold certified in California, according an announcement made Tuesday.
The state-of-the-art, 17,000-square-foot facility is also only the second to receive the certification on the West Coast. The hospital sits on a hillside above the zoo and contains labs, food prep, surgery, medical support and staff offices. Built in 2012, the building replaced a 1960s-era hospital that, with only 1,200 square feet, could barely accommodate the zoo’s 660 animals.
The hospital was recognized for its green design and construction features that are positive impacts on the project itself as well as the surrounding community. These features include siting of the building; maximized daylight in occupied parts; and concrete masonry unit pavers on the entry plaza, which allow water to penetrate and thereby reduce water runoff. Even the building’s title letterforms at the main entrance are cut from recycled aluminum.
The building also contains in-slab radiant heating and sustainable icynene spray foam insulation, which is made using eco-friendly and renewable castor oil. Using this type of insulation reduces the need for petroleum-based polyol and can reduce energy consumption by as much as 50 percent.
Additionally, the building has a “cool roof,” which reflects sunlight and efficiently emits heat radiation to its surroundings and is lined with photovoltaics that convert solar radiation into electricity. Implementing photovoltaics has generated more than 100,000 kWh since going live in February 2013. The cost to install the solar panels was offset by a generous donation of 154 solar panels from SunPower Corporation.
Rick Fedrizzi, the U.S. Green Building Council’s president and CEO commended the work of the hospital’s architects and builders. "Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital’s LEED Gold certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” Fedrizzi said in a statement. "The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and this veterinary hospital serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."
At a cost of $10.8 million, funded mostly by private donations, the zoo worked to build the facility with Berkeley-based designer Noll & Tam Architects, Swinerton Management & Consulting, Solar Technologies and Alten Construction. The hospital was able to significantly upgrade its services from the old hospital, incorporating features such as holding rooms for all-sized animals, an indoor pool, a heated aviary and climate-controlled rooms for reptiles, all while helping to preserve the surrounding natural environment. The high-tech hospital will now also reduce carbon emissions from transporting animals to nearby UC Davis when it couldn’t hold animals or cater to their special needs.
"Achieving LEED Gold confirms Oakland Zoo’s ongoing environmental leadership and demonstrates our immediate and positive impact on our planet’s resources," said Nik Dehejia, chief financial officer at Oakland Zoo. "The building of the veterinary hospital addresses critical environmental challenges, creates opportunities for ‘green’ jobs, environmental education for thousands of children and families who visit the zoo, and reduces our long-term operating costs. We are proud to demonstrate our commitment to the green-building movement."