The Contra Costa County Superior Court is Going “Green”

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The new Arnason Justice Center, which opened to the public on November 15, 2010, is a “green”/sustainably designed building receiving LEED[1] Silver certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The design was inspired by East Contra Costa County’s natural beauty. The material choices, colors, textures, landscape, and the public areas are in response to the delta, surrounding foothills and the Mt. Diablo range. The building was designed to be the gateway civic building to integrate and reinforce the City of Pittsburg’s long-term development plans for a civic center. Its flexible and secure design allows for expanded hours for traffic court as well as public use of the Jury Assembly pavilion.

Arnason Justice Center - inspired by East Contra Costa County's natural beauty

The courthouse has been recognized by the American Institute of Architects’ Academy of Architecture for Justice and the National Center for State Courts as an example of excellence in design and functionality. The design complies with the state’s California Trial Court Facilities Standards and is the first fully state-funded courthouse approved by the State’s Judicial Council and constructed by the Administrative Office of the Courts, the staff arm of the Judicial Council.

The dramatic two-story lobby space allows sunlight penetration in the public circulation areas, and the integrated exterior sun shading elements reduce energy loads. This 73,500 square foot courthouse houses seven full service courtrooms, six of which have natural daylight. It also houses the clerk’s office, jury assembly room, family court mediation services, self-help center, public law library, a food vending area for the public, and a children’s waiting room.

Sustainable Design Features include:

  1. Building oriented to minimize heat gain and optimize daylight.
  2. Uses 22.5% less energy.
  3. Uses 30% less lighting power density than allowed by Title 24.
  4. 40% reduction of water use in building.
  5. Indoor air quality management to ensure optimum indoor air quality.
  6. 20% of building materials contain recycled content.
  7. 50% of wood is Forest Stewardship Council certified.
  8. Composite wood in building is urea-formaldehyde free.
  9. Green roof above Jury Assembly pavilion protects the roof membrane, slows roof drainage into the storm water drainage system while providing a garden view for courthouse visitors.
  10. 50% reduction of water use in landscaping.
  11. Bio-swales in landscaping areas for natural site treatment of storm water to reduce burden on municipal sewage system.
  12. Site lighting designed to reduce night sky pollution.
  13. Walking distance to public transportation.
  14. Contractor’s construction waste management plan has diverted over 85% of construction waste from landfill.

The Court is extremely proud of this flagship courthouse which will serve the public for decades.


[1] Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

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