Top LEED Projects of 2015 Include Palo Alto Mitchell Park Center

Top 10 States 2015: Mitchell Park Center

by Amanda Sawit –

The 2015 Top 10 States list honors transformative efforts at the state level to create healthier, more energy- and water-efficient places to live, learn, work and play. In 2015 alone, 1,633 projects were certified in the United States—equivalent to an incredible 275 million square feet.

In this series, we spotlight the standout LEED-certified projects that contributed to the 2015 Top 10 rankings. Join us in celebrating some of the best examples of green building design, construction and operation.

#7: California

Mitchell Park Center

The Mitchell Park Library and Community Center (Mitchell Park Center) is 56,332 square feet of new construction in Palo Alto, Calif. Opened to the public in December 2014, the project was awarded LEED Platinum for New Construction in April 2015.

The 40,000-square-foot library is the newest and largest of six libraries in the Palo Alto City Library (PACL) system, built to accommodate a build-out collection of up to 140,000 print volumes. The building contains lounge and work seats, group study rooms, technology seats and dedicated children and teen spaces. The library also shares access to the 16,000-square-foot community center wing with classrooms, a large multipurpose room, activity space, early childhood recreation space and a café.

The Mitchell Park Center strives to educate the community about strategies to conserve resources, protect ecosystems and enhance the human experience while incorporating these practices into its daily operations.

The new joint-use facility replaces the previous library and community center buildings on the same site at the southeast edge of Mitchell Park. It more than triples the space of its predecessors, but the project’s footprint does not encroach on the park. Parking is shared with other recreational uses, including copious bike parking and excellent transit access, which allows for a significant reduction in dedicated library parking.

The project is designed to reduce potable water use by 44 percent today, and up to 90 percent by 2020 when the municipal reclaimed water system is extended to the site. One hundred percent of precipitation is managed onsite through extensive pervious paving, infiltration basins and green roofs that reduce the overall quantity of stormwater discharge by 85 percent.

Mitchell Park Center is designed to outperform California Title 24 energy code requirements (California’s building energy efficiency standards) by 42 percent. Strategies to reduce energy use and carbon emissions include night sky radiant cooling, roof-mounted photovoltaic panels, mixed-mode ventilation, a solar thermal system, a condensate capture system and underfloor air distribution. Additionally, onsite renewable energy strategies are designed to generate approximately 20 percent of annual building energy use.

State snapshot

California maintained its No. 7 rank in 2015. As the most populous state in the nation, it’s no surprise that the state certified the most amount of LEED space that year, with 618 projects representing 87 million square feet. San Francisco and Los Angeles both rank in the top 10 U.S. cities boasting the most amount of LEED-certified space—about 13.5 million and 12.2 million square feet, respectively. Incidentally, California cities also make up one-fourth of the top 20 U.S. cities with the most amount of LEED space.

Between 2015 and 2018, green building is projected to add $91.22 billion to California’s GDP, as well as over a million jobs and $60.59 billion in labor earnings, according to USGBC’s Green Economic Impact Study, conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton. The study also anticipates that LEED alone will account for $58.4 billion of the state’s GDP growth, with 668,000 jobs and $39.15 billion in labor earnings, as well as $2.1 billion in tax revenue.

Other standout projects include:


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