L.A. Federal Courthouse Wins Top Ten COTE Award for Sustainable Design Excellence

Syska Hennessy Provided Mechanical and Electrical Engineering and Energy Modeling for Project

New York, NY — The Los Angeles Federal Courthouse, a design-build project for which Syska Hennessy Group provided mechanical and electrical engineering and energy modeling, has won a Top Ten award for 2018 from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE).

According to the AIA, the annual COTE awards recognize 10 design projects that have “expertly integrated design excellence with cutting-edge performance in several key areas.”  In its assessment of the courthouse, the jury noted: “The displacement ventilation systems were carefully designed and result in a high level of comfort with relatively low energy input. The measured EUI of 31 is 54 percent below national benchmarks for this building type and will be further reduced once the PV array is installed.”

The courthouse, which attained LEED® NC Platinum certification, contains 625,000 square feet, 24 courtrooms and 30 judicial chambers.  It houses the U.S. District Court, U.S. Marshals Services, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, a GSA field office, the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Protective Services, and the Federal Public Defender.  In its first year of operation, the facility is tracking below its aggressive energy intensity target of 35 EUI.

“Sustainability was a driving factor for the courthouse from the beginning,” reports the project’s architect, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM).  To this end, Syska incorporated such sustainable elements as a high-performance curtain-wall façade that reduces solar heat gain while providing ample natural light to internal areas, a lobby radiant heating and cooling slab, displacement ventilation in courtrooms and a 400-KW rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system that generates nearly 8 percent of the building’s energy consumption.

The courthouse has won several other awards since its completion in 2016, including the Grand Prize in the Los Angeles Business Council’s 47th Architecture Awards, a Building Design + Construction building team award, and a GSA honor award, to name a few.

Gary Brennen, the California-based co-president of Syska, says that the firm has worked on several projects with SOM, both in the region and on a national level.  “Some engineers complain that architects don’t take engineering limitations – or possibilities – into consideration during the design process.  That is never an issue with SOM, which views our role as a design partner.  Consequently, the projects on which we work together achieve outstanding results.  The courthouse is a perfect example.”

Syska Hennessy Group is the leading global, full-service MEP, information and communication technology (ICT), vertical transportation, and commissioning engineering firm. With more than 500 professionals across 18 offices, the company provides a full range of engineering services for projects of every size and budget. Since 1928, Syska has been designing smarter, safer, and more efficient buildings by integrating essential systems that respond and adapt to a changing world.