Award-Winning CDCR California Health Care Facility Achieves USGBC LEED® Silver Certification

(June 30, 2014) - The California Health Care Facility (CHCF) in Stockton (Design-Build 2 component) has earned LEED Silver certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). HDR is the designer and part of Clark-McCarthy A Joint Venture (CMAJV), which developed and completed the fast-track design-build project. The DB-2 component encompasses the majority of the project, including all of the housing, diagnostic/treatment, administration and support facilities inside the perimeter fence, as well as the visitor/staff entry building.

A landmark facility from the beginning—both in the way it was designed and constructed and in the team's commitment to its green design—this latest achievement cements its status as one of the premier correctional healthcare facilities in the U.S. CHCF was also recognized with several awards in 2014—including the International Partnering Institute's (IPI) Partnered Project of the Year Award and a Design-Build Institute of America Merit Award—while also winning a featured spot in the AIA Justice Facilities Review publication.

Designed to transform care for the inmate-patients of the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR), the new facility will help ensure quality long-term care for rapidly aging inmate-patients with a wide variety of serious and chronic medical and mental health issues in a safe and secure environment. The sustainable design strategies focused on providing an environment that supports healing.  Most of the inmate-patients at CHCF will have ongoing health and age-related conditions, so providing a high level of indoor air quality and abundant natural light were top priorities. As a correctional facility it was important to also include stress-reducing features for inmate-patient and staff comfort, such as controlled acoustics to help enhance communications, lighting controls, regulation of temperature, humidity and fresh air, and plenty of natural light.

Daylighting strategies provide as much natural light as possible, and most of the buildings include skylights with clerestory windows, other large windows and light-colored interiors. Low-VOC and sustainably-certified finishes are used, while measures were also taken to limit contaminants, monitor appropriate ventilation rates and to include lights and equipment with low levels of mercury.

Outdoor "neighborhoods" along streets leading to "Main Street" were designed to allow inmate-patients to have a more normal environment, where they can navigate from their "neighborhoods" to the "town" to attend appointments, classes and treatments. This encourages them to take greater responsibility for their own treatment, rehabilitation, recovery and well-being—ultimately giving them the tools they need to reintegrate into society upon release. Shade canopies and a spray mist cooling system keep exterior spaces comfortable during the hot summer months.

CHCF is also purposefully designed to address regional concerns about habitat loss, water use, energy use and waste management. Built on a previously developed brownfield site near Stockton, CDCR's commitment to the environment extends to participating in an offsite land agreement that donated over 200 acres of off-site habitat to local land trusts, who will sustainably manage and preserve the land to prevent future development.  

The CHCF team implemented design strategies to significantly reduce water and energy use—within the constraints of a correctional healthcare facility—that reduced indoor water use by 42 percent, outdoor water use by 74.72 percent and energy use by 27.3 percent. Key energy efficiency measures include a well-insulated building envelope and high-performance glazing, along with high-efficiency mechanical and electrical systems. To ensure that the buildings perform as intended, enhanced commissioning services along with other measurement and verification services are being implemented. 

Other notable sustainable features include on-site stormwater management—using a system of vegetated swales and pipes that route stormwater to a large detention basin—and diverting 98.67 percent of construction waste from the landfill—a total of over 14,245 tons of waste.

The LEED Silver certification includes five separate LEED projects consisting of 30 buildings and almost 1.1 million square feet of space.