Kaiser Antelope Valley Medical Office Building, California

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group helped Kaiser Permanente realize sustainable solutions for a new specialty medical office building near Los Angeles, California, through engineering design and sustainability and energy consulting services.

Kaiser Permanente saw the need for a new, highly sustainable, specialty medical office building to bring specialized care to a growing number of members in the remote location of Lancaster, 70 miles north of Los Angeles. Known for its windy, high desert climate, Lancaster’s extreme weather presented challenges in the design and construction, particularly in light of Kaiser’s goal of LEED Gold certification.

Tetra Tech provided engineering design and sustainability and energy consulting services to meet this goal. Working with the temperature parameters of the desert throughout the year, Tetra Tech used Building Energy Modeling to maximize the energy efficiency of the building envelope and HVAC systems. Energy analysis led to the design of solar collection systems that provide for 72 percent of annual hot water needs. The resulting building consumes 36 percent less energy than a typical medical office building, saving approximately $118,000 in annual utility costs.

In the high desert, which experiences fewer than 10 inches of rain per year, water conservation is a necessity. Tetra Tech designed an evaporative cooling system that reduces chilled water use in the building. This, along with low-flow fixtures and a dual-plumbing system save the building 550,000 gallons of highly valuable potable water each year. Tetra Tech employed energy and computational fluid dynamics modeling to recommend building position and shape scenarios to optimize daylighting, demonstrate potential wind energy harvesting, and create a healing garden that shielded occupants from gusty wind patterns. Tetra Tech’s daylight models also informed the design of the façade and shading to reduce glare and improve comfort for occupants indoors. Building performance modeling effectively reduces annual lighting energy by 54 percent.

The building’s south-facing wall is covered by a curvilinear glass curtain that allows the building to harvest natural light and minimize the need for artificial lighting during daytime. Providing expansive views of the mountains on the horizon, the large windows help create a biophilic design that incorporates nature into the built environment, which can prove crucial in healthcare facilities as it contributes directly to patients’ well-being.

Designed for occupant comfort, biophilic healing elements of views to nature and natural light, energy efficiency, and water conservation, the 136,000-square-foot facility achieved LEED Gold certification and is designed to achieve Net Zero Energy.

Images courtesy of Assassi productions