Green Buildings of San Mateo County

The GAP Building

Located on Cherry Avenue in San Bruno, GAP, Inc. runs its corporation from a green building with big and small features that combine for maximum energy efficiency. The building was completed in September, 1997 after the company decided to experiment with environmentally sound designs for the new facility. The result was a building 30 percent more energy efficient than what is required by California law. In 2000, PG&E gave the building the Savings by Design Award for taking the initiative of building such a fine facility.

The building emphasizes the usage of the sun's light with oversized windows and a high-tech lighting system that brightens and dims itself based on the sunlight's strength. The floor of the building is slightly raised, which traps cool air at night and is blown throughout the building during the warm summer days. The office windows can also be opened, which provides air circulation. On top of this, every employee sits a maximum of thirty feet from a window, which helps keep the workers morale and production up.

The GAP building also has a green roof or a roof with a layer of grass and plants on top of it, which sits on a six-inch layer of soil. This layer of greenery acts as insulation, and also absorbs rain and air pollution.

When the building was erected, GAP estimated the higher costs for the design would pay itself off in energy savings after eight years. Actually, the dollar figure is difficult to find because green buildings boost worker productivity and minimize the environmental impact, and it is hard to put a price tag on that.