West elm, a member of the San Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma, Inc. portfolio of brands, for the first time, built from the ground up, its second store in the Bay Area in Emeryville’s Bay Street shopping center. This new construction site was constructed incorporating a number of green building techniques and standards. Among them: a rooftop split between solar panels and a living roof; a water-saving satellite irrigation system; low energy lighting; sky lights; reclaimed hardwood floors; the recycling of building materials and a host of construction and operations eco-attributes.
The Bay Street Mall west elm store is three stories tall and is the retail space closest to the 80 and 580 Freeways just northeast of the Bay Bridge. As a new construction project, our Project Developers were not able to model a solar power installation using historical energy consumption at the site. Instead they worked closely with the west elm project management team to determine what kind of energy using equipment, lighting, and weatherproofing techniques would be used to accurately project what size installation would eliminate a specific portion of their energy bill. West elm knew from the beginning they wanted this high visibility location to model the eco-conscious brand attributes and asked that we focus our designers on the higher (southernmost) standing seem curved roof so they could use the other surface for a living-roof that has helped regulate the building’s climate and softens noise from the adjacent freeway.
The west elm, Emeryville, is a great example of a comprehensive approach to green building. The 27kW DC (STC) solar power installation is relatively small compared to the home furnishings store, but west elm will be able to eliminate 10-15% of their energy bill because of the building’s overall energy efficient design. The living-roof provides an excellent layer of insulation to help keep the building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This coupled with energy efficient lighting means the building’s annual energy consumption is reduced prior to knocking out 10-15% from the solar. Solar can have a compounding effect on savings when it brings energy users into lower rate tiers.