Packard Foundation Wins Livable Building Award

The David & Lucille Packard Foundation Headquarters in Los Altos, CA, is the winner of the 2014 Livable Building Award, which recognizes high levels of occupant happiness, comfort and productivity in the work environment.

A jury selected by the Center for the Built Environment (CBE) at University of California, Berkeley, grants the Livable Building Award based largely on a CBE survey measuring occupant satisfaction in more than 6oo buildings in such categories as light, air quality, thermal comfort, furnishings and acoustics.

According to the survey, 76 percent of Packard occupants reported they were satisfied with the daylight and lighting— including things like glare, quality of light and individual control over lighting— and 73 percent of occupants reported satisfaction with thermal comfort. These percentages put Packard in the top tier of buildings in the survey, scoring higher than 96 percent of the other buildings in the survey for thermal comfort.

The design team used information from the occupant survey to work with occupants to resolve issues in the building. According to Integral Group’s Eric Soladay, project manager and engineer of record for the building, working with the occupants to keep them happy over the course of their first year in the building required dedication. “It was typical—at least five times over the course of the year—that the owner would call around 4pm on a Friday. Some items we could address right then, other items required our engineer to go to the site that weekend to help the contractor or building operator address an issue,” he recalled.

Though the thermal comfort results were in the 96th Percentile, Soladay is convinced that occupant satisfaction has since increased with the equipment repaired and functioning properly.

The award criteria also considers architectural design and resource efficiency, and part of the challenges came from balancing occupant comfort with the building owner’s goal of operating the building at net zero energy.

The building is the largest office to receive Net Zero Energy Certification through the International Living Future Institute, which requires the building to produce as much energy as it consumes over the course of the year. In fact, the building proved to be a net positive building, generating more energy than it consumed last year.

“A lot of the credit for the great performance of the building has to do with the occupants’ commitment and dedication to making it work,” said Integral Group’s David Maino, lead electrical engineer on the project. “They really pay attention to the building and make it work, taking ownership of things like plug loads and operable windows to maximize efficiency and comfort.”

Learn more about the David & Lucille Packard Foundation here.

View CBE’s detailed occupant survey results here.