‘LEED platinum status’: Sunnyvale cuts ribbon on sustainable city hall

The entire building has been designed around the sun to improve visual comfort and reducing energy use.

Apr 7, 2023 - 11:04
Mar 2, 2024 - 09:07
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‘LEED platinum status’: Sunnyvale cuts ribbon on sustainable city hall
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing
Techatty All-in-1 Publishing

Sunnyvale’s new city hall is designed to maximize sunlight for illumination, but attendees at Monday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony could have used some for warming purposes as cold winds buffeted the group gathered outside the four-story, 117,107-square-foot building.

People gather to celebrate the opening of the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
People gather to celebrate the opening of the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

Weather notwithstanding, the building claims bragging rights as the first net-zero energy, all-electric city hall built to LEED platinum standards in the country. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification system created by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council that recognizes sustainability achievement and leadership.

The entire building has been designed around the sun to improve visual comfort and reducing energy use. The building’s lighting is 100% LED, and the narrow footprint of the building and large windows and skylights have been designed to maximize the daylight coming in.

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All of this created a warming effect as city staff led visitors on a tour of the building, pointing out sustainable aspects like 1,653 solar panels generating 1,099,000 kWh per year, which officials estimate should be enough to power the building.

  • Past and present Sunnyvale city councilmembers and staff prepare to...

    Past and present Sunnyvale city councilmembers and staff prepare to cut the ribbon at the new city hall April 3. The four-story, 117,107-square-foot building is the first net-zero energy, all-electric city hall built to LEED Platinum standards in the country. The narrow footprint of the building and its large windows and skylights are among its sustainable features. (Photo by Anne Gelhaus)

  • The council chambers inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall weren’t...

    The council chambers inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall weren’t quite ready to host meetings yet on Monday, April 3, when the city held a ribbon-cutting at the new building, which abuts the old city hall on Olive Avenue. Construction of the new city hall started in December 2020. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • People explore the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif.,...

    People explore the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

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  • Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein and Deputy City Manager Jaqui Guzmán...

    Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein and Deputy City Manager Jaqui Guzmán speak to people inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • People gather to celebrate the opening of the new Sunnyvale...

    People gather to celebrate the opening of the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • People walk up the staircase inside the new Sunnyvale City...

    People walk up the staircase inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • A tour guide is reflected in the council chamber window...

    A tour guide is reflected in the council chamber window as they hold up a sign inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • Sunnyvale Councilmember Richard Mehlinger takes a picture of the stairwell...

    Sunnyvale Councilmember Richard Mehlinger takes a picture of the stairwell at the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein and Deputy City Manager Jaqui Guzmán...

    Sunnyvale Mayor Larry Klein and Deputy City Manager Jaqui Guzmán speak to people inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • Manuel Valerio, former councilmember, takes a picture of the new...

    Manuel Valerio, former councilmember, takes a picture of the new mayor’s office at Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • Inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on...

    Inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • Inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on...

    Inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • The mayor???s office at the new Sunnyvale City Hall in...

    The mayor???s office at the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday,...

    The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. Demolition of current City Hall and Sunnyvale Office Center buildings will began this March. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday,...

    The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. Demolition of current City Hall and Sunnyvale Office Center buildings will began this March. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

  • The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday,...

    The new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. Demolition of current City Hall and Sunnyvale Office Center buildings will began this March. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)

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Artworks on the landings of each floor add visual warmth to the new city hall. Artist Carrie Lederer’s tapestry, “The Sunnyside of My Abstracted Garden,” is hanging near the second-story landing. Lederer said the Sunnyvale Arts Commission and city council “chose a diverse group of artists who work in diverse mediums.”

The Sunnyvale community had a say in the look and feel of the building. The city held a series of workshops in 2015 to get public input on its development. Mayor Larry Klein said residents and community members indicated they wanted a welcoming, sustainable and safe environment.

Klein gave kudos to his predecessors Jim Griffith and Glenn Hendricks, who he said “shepherded the council through a lot of major decisions that led us to the new city hall.”

City hall construction started in December 2020, and work is still incomplete. The council chambers are among the areas that are still being tweaked, said Sunnyvale Communications Officer Jennifer Garnett.

Still, several city departments moved in last month and were still getting settled into their new digs.

A tour guide is reflected in the council chamber window as they hold up a sign inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group)
A tour guide is reflected in the council chamber window as they hold up a sign inside the new Sunnyvale City Hall in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Monday, April 3, 2023. (Shae Hammond/Bay Area News Group) 

“The majority of our city staff is under one roof for the first time ever,” Klein said.

The new digs aren’t far from the old ones, as Sunnyvale’s two city halls now abut each other on Olive Avenue. The old city hall and other civic center buildings are set to be demolished, and once that happens, a public grand opening of the new city hall is set for Sept. 23.

The demolition will create approximately 6 acres of open space, on which construction of an amphitheater and nature walking trails is expected to be completed this summer.

Construction of the new city hall represents the first phase of Sunnyvale’s Civic Center revamp. The second phase involves rebuilding or adding onto the city’s library, and the third phase will be upgrading the Sunnyvale Public Safety facilities.

Silicon Valley Bay Area News Group is a media company whose portfolio consists of regional news and advertising products, as well as other well-positioned and growing digital businesses. Bay Area News Group is the single leading source of news and information for the majority of communities throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
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