The new California Department of General Services (DGS) building on O Street in Sacramento is an excellent example of multipurpose sustainable architecture. The building includes office, assembly, storage, building support, parking and commercial food service space and has an expected capacity of 1,150 employees from the Health and Human Services Agency, the Department of State Hospitals and the Department of Developmental Services. To provide a comfortable work environment for these agencies and their employees, raised access floors were installed throughout the building and help contribute to the building’s indoor air quality and flexibility.
One of the key characteristics of this building is that it is designed with employee wellness as a top priority. By utilizing raised access floors, the architects were able to increase the ceiling height and window size, increasing access to natural daylight. The building also features Underfloor Air Distribution, which provides conditioned air through the floor directly into the occupied space. This system pulls contaminants and CO2 up and out of the space as the air heats up and naturally rises to the ceiling return, improving the building’s indoor air quality. The other important piece to employee wellness is personal comfort. Individual air controls were placed in the floor at each desk or office, allowing employees to have total control over the direction and amount of airflow in their workspace.
Corinne Kerr, principal of ZGF Architects, discussed the way the raised access floors contributed to the wellness priorities their team incorporated into the design of the space. “Our design team selected the raised access flooring to provide a low-pressure under floor air distribution (UFAD) system that would help us meet the project’s stringent indoor air quality and energy efficiency goals.”
The other key priority for this project was sustainability. Building systems were designed to optimize energy and water use, while also reducing maintenance and operational costs. The project was also constructed as Net Zero Energy and is seeking a LEED platinum certification, which UFAD contributes to.