The upside of pouting
With a little imagination, SN&R’s new green building can be seen as excitement-twinging!
As I drove down Stockton Boulevard last week trying to find my way to an interview (but getting lost instead), I couldn’t help but notice a handful of art deco buildings lining the street. Usually, I’m fairly oblivious to the world around me, but that’s some sweet architecture, so I took notice and, for the first time, felt a twinge of excitement about SN&R’s move from Midtown to a green office building on Del Paso Boulevard, a street with several art deco structures for me to soon feast my eyes upon.
Currently, we have quite the convenient workplace setup, making it hard to get motivated for the move. Writers often walk to the coffee shop across the street to interview sources, and when food cravings set in, we meander to any number of nearby eateries. Our prime location also means every once in a while crazies walk in to chitchat with the lady at the front desk. I love our current location; it’s absolutely perfect! OK, now I’m pouting. But it’s just not fair!
Don’t get me wrong: It’ll be fun exploring Del Paso Boulevard, a road that follows the historic Route 40 highway. From the 1920s to the 1940s, art deco was all the rage in the United States and Europe, and the style manifested itself right here on Del Paso Boulevard as the area built up and flourished. The post-Word War II era gave rise to automobile production, and in the 1950s, the newly constructed Highway 160 diverted traffic away from this corridor, annexing this part of north Sacramento off from downtown. Over the next few decades, the corridor experienced an economic downturn and problems with crime and abandoned buildings. For the last several years, the boulevard has attempted to revamp itself as an arts district.
It’s time to start mentally preparing myself for our relocation, because we’re moving right along with the building renovation. Maybe not “right” along, but we’re moving, or someone somewhere is moving, and by golly, that’s close enough!
Granted, there are reasons to feel twinges of excitement, especially when it comes to the green aspects of our new building. The facility used to be a grocery store, then a furniture shop, but has remained empty for the past several years. The unrenovated building failed to meet statewide Title 24 building standards by 1.3 percent; the remodeled building as designed exceeds those standards by 27 percent. Whoa!
Because of our building’s awesome design, we qualified for Savings by Design, a program that promotes energy efficiency in the planning of new or remodeled facilities (projects must be at least 15 percent above Title 24 standards). Funded by California utility customers, Savings by Design helps building owners maximize incentives. SN&R found a utility representative early in the design process to explain program opportunities and guide our application process. And the ongoing benefits of an energy-efficient building that will continue long after I’m dead, buried in the ground and being nibbled at by maggots? Lowered operating expenses, improved occupancy comfort and reduced pollution (leading to cleaner air for my heirs).
Our office building will use Energy Star-rated ceiling fans, selected from a list of 1,400 on SMUD’s Web site. In the summer, these fans will blow cool air down and in winter, we’ll reverse the fans to circulate warm air around the room. We’re kicking butt on material reuse, maintaining 95 percent of the existing roof, exterior walls and structural floor. For insulation, we’ll use Bonded Logic, a product made from 85 percent post-industrial recycled natural fibers that contains no chemical irritants and absorbs sound, counteracting some of the noise likely to bounce off the salvaged concrete floor.
Get this: The other day, I’m chilling at my desk, pretending to work, when my boss informs me that our building has been designed so more than half of the interior spaces have views to the outside, where we’ll adorn the periphery of our parking lot with shade trees and drought-tolerant plants. I’m totally excitement-twinging as we speak!