Our project at the Sacramento Central Health Services Building, for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), has achieved LEED Gold status! This is a particularly notable accomplishment for our civic and sustainability studios given the challenges and unique requirements involved with designing in a correctional environment. The sustainable aspects of the project that helped it to achieve Gold status include:

Clerestory Windows

These allow natural light into the space, reducing the lighting energy load with 46% in cost savings and also bringing natural elements inside.

Outdoor Water Use Reduction

The use of only existing native plants on site mean no irrigation is being used. This project was able to receive the maximum amount of points for having a 100% reduction in outdoor water usage.

Enhanced Commissioning

The team commissioned the project to adhere above and beyond code requirements to make sure that all systems were constructed and configured to maximize the efficiency of the systems.

Indoor Water Use Reduction

Water efficient fixtures resulted in a 27% reduction in indoor water use.

Construction Waste Reduction

Amazingly, 94% of construction waste was diverted from landfill and was recycled or reused.

Healthy Materials

Healthy and sustainable materials were used that were recycled and had low VOC content.


High level filters increased ventilation and bring more fresh air indoors.

Other highlights include numerous large and open spaces for staff and in-custody areas which provide excellent daylighting, ease of supervision and modern technology. There is a radiology suite, a nurses work station and urgent care rooms with plenty of south facing windows that provide pools of natural light both in treatment rooms and by illuminating traditionally dark, long hallways.

Press Release from CDCR News

California State Prison-Sacramento Central Health Services Building Awarded for Environmental Conservation LEED Gold Status by the U.S. Green Building Council

SACRAMENTO—-The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has earned a Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for the new Central Health Services building at California State Prison, Sacramento. The certification recognizes the building’s energy-saving and environmental conservation features that will reduce water use by 27 percent and energy costs by 46 percent.
The new 28,100-square-foot facility provides medical, mental health, optical and specialty services to inmate-patients. It earned the recognition from the U.S. Green Building Council for its use of low-flow water fixtures, expansive use of recycled material, high-efficiency lighting and energy-saving architectural features which were incorporated into the new facility by the Sacramento architectural and engineering firm Lionakis.

“We take pride in being a leader among state agencies for our environmental stewardship,” said Ralph Diaz, acting Secretary for CDCR. “We manage over 49 million square feet of buildings with 35 prisons and other facilities and that gives us a large opportunity to incorporate alternative energy and conservation measures that cut costs for taxpayers and contribute to the state’s ability to meet its environmental goals.”

The new building includes a 3,500-square-foot trauma and triage area and more space for inpatient care. The medical clinic’s sustainability features include:
• The use of clerestory windows that allow more natural light into the building to reduce electrical lighting needs, producing a 46 percent savings in energy costs;
• Use of efficient water fixtures, reducing indoor water use by 27 percent;
• Recycling or reusing 94 percent of construction waste, nearly eliminating use of landfills;
• The use of adhesives, coatings and paint with low levels of smog-forming organic compounds;
• Increased ventilation and high-efficiency filters to increase the flow of fresh air;
• Upgrading all systems beyond standards required by building codes to maximize efficiency of the systems.

“Sustainability is one of our core values at Lionakis and we are pleased that CDCR embraces the commitment to be sustainable,” said Maynard Feist, principal at Lionakis. “It requires a very collaborative and coordinated effort between clients, consultants and contractors to be successful. The project general contractor, Broward Builders, was integral in successfully implementing the design and sustainable goals for this important project.”

The California State Prison, Sacramento health facility is the 61st CDCR-owned facility to be LEED-certified and the 10th to be certified at the Gold level. In 2008, CDCR adopted an environmental sustainability program to reduce emissions and its carbon footprint, to conserve water and to generate energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar.