San Francisco-based Swinerton Builders announced last week that Burbank Water and Power’s new Electrical Services Building has just been awarded LEED Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The Los Angeles office of Swinerton served as the general contractor on the two-story, 17,000-sq-ft building, which was built on a fast-track construction schedule and opened last July.

The building, located in Burbank, about 10 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles, houses the 100-yr-old public utility company's electrical equipment testing and relay shops, a high bay shop featuring a 10-ton crane, supervisors and engineering office space, a training room, a lunch room, restrooms, locker rooms, and showers. The Type II moment frame slab-on-grade structure has a lathe and plaster exterior with a stucco coating.

The Swinerton project team followed strict LEED Platinum standards during construction, and gained points through strategies such as sustainable site selection, waste management practices, recycled content use, regional manufacturing, and storm water pollution prevention. An overhead dimmable lighting system was installed throughout the building, with built-in sensors that track the amount of incoming sunlight. Green features extended outside to the site work and landscaping, where drought-tolerant native California vegetation was planted to minimize water usage.

Platinum is the highest LEED level attainable and is no easy feat to accomplish. The USGBC says there are only 273 LEED Platinum buildings in the state of California and three of them are now located on Burbank Water and Power’s sprawling new, 26-acre EcoCampus. The other two buildings on the campus are the Administration Building and the Service Center Building.

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LEED projects get points for certain steps taken to mitigate a structure's environmental impact. LEED takes a comprehensive approach, awarding points for diverse categories like stormwater management, alternative transportation, water use reduction, reduction of the heat island effect, water efficient landscaping, optimizing energy performance, construction waste management and recycling, ventilation, use of low-emitting paints, carpets,  adhesives and sealants, daylighting, and design innovation. As sufficient LEED credits are acheived, the project is awarded one of four LEED levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Burbank Water and Power officials say they took a "campus-wide approach" with additional features such as a solar-covered parking structure that generates clean renewable energy and extensive landscaping that provides storm water capture to recharge ground water aquifers to help each of the three buildings achieve platinum status.