US Forest Service Strikes LEED Gold In High Sierra

The Truckee District Office of the U.S. Forest Service has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. The building is the first building in the service’s Pacific Southwest Region, which includes California, Hawaii and U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands, to receive the certification.

Green features of the building include the use of natural light by positioning the building to maximize southern exposure. This allows for passive solar heat gain and minimum heat loss. Automatic lighting controls help measure daylight and dim lights accordingly, saving electricity. Overall, the design components of the building help it to save 50 percent more electricity and natural gas than called for by California standards.

image via U.S. Forest Service

The building was constructed of materials that were either harvested or manufactured in the region, with attention to choosing healthy, non-toxic finishes, the Forest Service said. Recycling practices kept three-quarters of construction waste out of landfills, with recycled steel, insulation and aluminum doors all used in the building. In addition to being green on the inside, the building offers some beautiful “green” views: The windows of the buildings were designed to allow the occupants to take in the outdoors, and views of Lookout Mountain can be had from almost every part of the building.

The building, which was designed by Ward Young Architecture in collaboration with Beaudin-Ganze Consulting Engineers, took nearly 10 years to complete form conception.  In 2004, Congress approved the sale of an 82-acre Forest Service work center nearby and directed the funds be used for the construction of the new Forest Service station. In 2005, Ward Young Architects was awarded the design contract for the office, with the specification to achieve a minimum LEED Silver certification.  In 2008, a contract was awarded to Geney/Gassiot INC General Contractors for the construction of the new office. According to the Forest Service, all the firms involved were local, and the building was completed in 2010 and was part of the Truckee government center dedication last fall.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.