Building health through better buildings

By Jennifer Sawayda

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Sandia LEED campus efforts recognized

new building on Sandia New Mexico campus
(Photo courtesy of Sandia's Facilities organization)

Sandia is the first corporate campus to receive the new Building Health Leadership Award, which recognizes its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design v.4 Campus effort. Sandia is the largest DOE site named a LEED v.4 Campus.

The Building Health Leadership Award recognizes exceptional leadership for the proactive incorporation of health principles into the design, construction and operation of buildings. The award was developed through a partnership with the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council, which promotes sustainable design and building principles, and the University of Virginia School of Medicine.

The Council’s LEED v.4 for Campus Certification is a framework for quantifying sustainability measures that contribute to LEED certification on a sitewide basis.

As part of its campus-wide effort, Sandia’s facilities departments collaborated with Employee Health Services to develop an integrated process for health promotion to incorporate into the planning of new buildings.

“We worked with USGBC and the University of Virginia to develop a building occupant health risk assessment early in the planning process,” said strategic planner Alicia Brown, who worked with Lisa Teves and Jon Pier from Human Resources.

Award criteria are planning for health promotion, green building certification and measuring operational performance. Sandia was recognized for outstanding leadership in all three.

Employee wellness was incorporated into the planning process with an emphasis on increasing walkability and bike-ability.

To ensure the initiative is a success, Sandia will monitor and evaluate occupant health and sustainability metrics through post-occupancy surveys. EHS staff will help to incorporate health promotion strategies into the design of new buildings.

“Integrating health promotion with LEED design and construction principles on a campus-wide basis acknowledges Sandia’s commitment toward a healthier and more sustainable work environment,” Alicia said.

LEED for Campus also provides reference criteria for future projects across the campus, allowing Sandia to maintain its LEED certification for new buildings and construction. The new high-performance computing facility is expected to be the first building certified under the LEED for Campus effort, as well as Sandia’s first LEED-certified data center. Alicia said LEED for Campus will provide 23 percent of LEED building prerequisites and credits when new projects are sited within the campus boundary.

Sandia and two other award winners were announced at the recent IMPACT conference.

ASTRA supercomputer building

building maintenance area  outside view of supercomputer facility

LEEDING THE WAY — Some of the buildings that aided the Labs in achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design v.4 for Campus Certification were completed recently and filled quickly with members of the workforce supporting Sandia’s mission. The above photos display features of the Labs new high-performance computing facility, which is expected to be the first building certified.  (Photos by Lonnie Anderson)