Remodeled Wellness Center in San Diego Now Certified ‘Green’ Building

April 24, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

Through old materials that used to be an auto dealership building in the northeast corner of Fourth Avenue and Beech Street, San Diego, a $2.4 million remodeled wellness center has put on eco-friendly retrofit to bag the LEED gold status.

Remodeled Wellness Center in San Diego Now Certified ‘Green’ Building

The US Green Building Council has recognized the new Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center that stands on the 17,460-square-foot land area in San Diego that once nested an auto dealership building constructed in 1927. The green infrastructure was designed by Smith Consulting Architects from Carmel Valley.

According to a research cited by the US Green Building Council during its CleanMed conference earlier this month, patients and individuals that stay in ‘green’ healthcare services facility heal faster. The USGBC has previously launched a new rating system under the LEED for Healthcare.

The new wellness center provides a state-of-the-art, one-stop shop of health and wellness products and services for low-income senior citizens. It incorporates complete remodeling in the exterior and a 4,500-square-feet second floor seismic retrofit.

In the first floor is a display of spacious lobby and recreational areas including an activity room for cards, chess and other board games, a living room for socialization and reading, an ‘enrichment center’ for lectures, art and exercise classes, demonstrations, job and volunteer training and other activities.

Senior citizens are also provided an area where they can learn the basics of computers and the digital age through a cyber cafe. Compared with the Senior Community Centers’ old facility, the wellness center has kitchen and dining room that are double in size.

In the second floor lies the Center for Healthy Aging where the seniors can avail of complete health check-ups, case management, and wellness activities that promote their well-being. The healthcare services are made possible through the collaborative efforts of the wellness center’s staff and different sectors including San Diego healthcare, social service, legal and educational organizations.

Being a green building, the wellness center has urethane spray foam roof insulation, PPG insulated glass in all of its exterior windows, and 22 Solatube and Sun Optic day-lighting skylights and permits natural light inside.

Most of its green practices involve reusing the old auto dealership building and its demolished parts to save them from the landfill. For example, the carpet has about 35% recycled materials and 40% for the ceiling tiles. As a result, its low-VOC finish materials have been so selected with care to be proportionate enough to the recycled content.

Energy consumption of the wellness center is cut by 27% through efficient T-8 lighting with motion- and light-sensors.

The wellness center also incorporates energy management system to monitor energy consumption of the building, which, according to the architects’ report, uses 25% less energy than the current California energy code standards. Through low-flow plumbing fixtures and faucets, the wellness center consumes 51% less water compared with a typical building.

The wellness center has built-in recycling bins that enable the building to recycle paper, glass, metal, cardboard and plastics.

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