Oakland Zoo’s Veterinary Hospital Earns Second-Highest Level of LEED Certification

By Ashley Watson
press-vet-hospitalThe 17,000-square-foot hospital at Oakland Zoo is now one of the most environmentally friendly veterinary hospitals in the U.S. The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded it the second-highest level of LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification.
Now this vet hospital is one of the only two West Coast veterinary facilities to hold Gold status. Read more about the LEED program and the design of the building in this week’s blog post.

LEED is a program that recognizes green design, construction, and operation to help reduce waste and the use of water and energy. The zoo’s CFO, Nik Dehejia, was quoted as saying, “Achieving LEED Gold confirms Oakland Zoo’s ongoing environmental leadership and demonstrates our immediate and positive impact on our planet’s resources. The building of the Veterinary Hospital addresses critical environmental challenges, creates opportunities for ‘green’ jobs, environmental education for thousands of children and families who visit the zoo, and reduces our long-term operating costs.”

The hospital opened in October 2012, and here are some of the environmental highlights of the facility, according to VPN:

  • Maximum use of natural light in occupied areas to lower the need for electric lights.
  • Installation of sustainable icynene castor oil insulation.
  • Use of “cool roof” materials to reflect heat.
  • Installation of solar panels to provide more than 60 percent of the building’s power.
  • Use of sustainably harvested Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood.
  • Use of in-slab radiant heating.
  • Installation of outdoor concrete masonry pavers that reduce water runoff by allowing water to penetrate the ground.
In addition, the rooftop solar power system has generated more than 100,000 kilowatt hours of energy since February 2013, which is enough electricity to supply 14 average-size California homes for one year. Noll & Tam Architects were part of the group of contractors on the building project, including Swinerton Management & Consulting, Solar Technologies and Alten Construction. The SunPower Corp. donated 154 solar panels.

Replacing a 1,200-square-foot clinic, this clinic iincludes small and large animal exam and surgery rooms, a radiology suite, a diagnostic lab, digital radiographic imaging and an animal care wing housing an indoor pool, climate-controlled rooms and a quarantine area.

This facility is also a critical part of maintaining the Zoo’s demonstration of best practices in wildlife management and animal care, and it has enabled expanded animal research and teaching opportunities with the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as partnership opportunities for other facilities and institutions regionally, like the California Condor Recovery Team, and throughout the United States.

What do you do in your practice to ensure that your facility is as environmentally friendly as possible? Share your comments with us on Facebook.