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A Living Lab for Sustainability

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Forensic Laboratory and Coroner’s Office
San Mateo County, California, USA

HOK’s architects and MEP engineers designed a “living lab” for sustainability that set new performance standards for forensics laboratories.

In this one-story building, investigators analyze criminal evidence for San Mateo County law enforcement agencies in 22 cities.

The design marries the single-story building’s technical interior program with the external impact of the sloped site in the rolling hills of San Mateo. The soothing environment provides relief from the painstaking work required to examine crime-scene evidence.

Sustainable features include a photovoltaic system, architectural sun control, daylight harvesting and advanced lighting controls with occupancy sensors and photocells, operable windows in offices, energy-efficient VAV fume hoods and HVAC systems, and sustainable materials. Exposing the lab infrastructure makes technical and mechanical elements easier to maintain.

The team modeled energy use and peak loads at 50 percent less than California energy requirements. With a peak output of 202 kW, the 22,000 square feet of photovoltaic panels produce enough power to accommodate all non-HVAC electrical requirements and to export energy back to the grid during off-peak daylight hours.

LEED CERTIFICATION

LEED certified

SIZE

29,000 sq. ft. / 8,800 sq. m.

SERVICES

Architecture
Interior Design
Landscape Architecture
Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing Engineering

AWARDS

American Institute of Architects – Justice Facility Design Citation Award

AIA Bay Area – Excellence in Design Award

AIA California – Design and Excellence Award

AIA Committee on the Environment – Top 10 Green Project

AIA San Francisco – Honor Award

Environmental Design + Construction – Citation for Excellence

R&D Magazine – Design Excellence in Architecture and Engineering

R&D Magazine – Lab of the Year Special Mention

50%

Estimated reduction in demand relative California Title 24 energy requirements