Alameda County received the 2008 Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award (GEELA) for its Juvenile Justice Center, an innovative green building that houses integrated services for at-risk youth. GEELA is California's highest environmental honor.
"We're proud that Alameda County has received this prestigious environmental award," said Board of Supervisors President Scott Haggerty. "The Juvenile Justice Center is the result of a successful partnership with local small businesses and youth all working towards a common goal-to provide the highest level of services to at-risk youth while preserving California's resources for future generations."
The Juvenile Justice Center, which opened in 2007, is the first juvenile justice facility in the country to obtain a Gold rating in the US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. Located on a hillside in San Leandro, the Center provides integrated health, educational, legal, and correctional services in a healing environment featuring natural light, fresh air, and inspiring art. At the same time, its green operations care for the youth's future by conserving water and energy resources, fighting climate change, and saving taxpayer dollars.
"The Juvenile Justice Center project demonstrates Alameda County's commitment to providing a high level of services in cost-effective ways that preserve the environment and foster the green economy," said County Administrator Susan S. Muranishi. "It is through the leadership of our Board and dynamic partnerships with our community that we were able to build this innovative green building."
The 379,000 square-foot facility generates 50% of its power with a one-acre, 880-kilowatt rooftop solar system. Its drought-tolerant landscaping uses 52% less water than conventional landscaping. A green cleaning program and low-VOC carpet, finishes, and furniture reduce indoor air contaminants. Green operations reduce CO2 emissions by 2073 tons every year.
"In constructing the JJC, we were able to exceed the County's environmental goals while providing opportunities to youth and small businesses." said Alameda County General Services Agency Director Aki Nakao; the Agency hired minority- and women-owned businesses along with youth from the detention system to help design and build the facility. "This honor recognizes Alameda County's commitment to environmental protection and social responsibility."
Established in 1993, the GEELA program recognizes individuals, organizations and businesses that have demonstrated exceptional leadership for voluntary achievements in conserving California's resources, protecting and enhancing the environment, and building public-private partnerships. Award recipients are chosen in eight different categories. The Juvenile Justice Center won an award for Sustainable Practices or Facilities. Alameda County is one of only 21 other recipients that will accept awards at tonight's ceremony in Sacramento. The GEELA program is administered by the California Environmental Protection Agency and the Resources Agency in collaboration with the State and Consumer Services Agency, the California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Business, Transportation and Housing Agency.