Hohbach-Lewin, Inc. Hohbach-Lewin, Inc.

"It's Not Easy Being Green..."

Kermit's right... it's hard to be Green... but it helps if, as Hohbach-Lewin does, you take a holistic and integrated approach to helping meet a Owner or project's specific sustainability goals.

Hohbach-Lewin has been the structural and /or civil engineer on multiple projects that have attained various levels of LEED certification. While we are very proud of our participation in all of these projects, most serious design practitioners interested in promoting and achieving truly sustainable design now realize that these various levels of LEED certification do not necessarily represent the final word when it comes to the complex issues of achieving a built environment that leaves the softest overall footprint.

Whether it's designing the new ICF (Insulated Concrete Formwork) Opal Cliffs and Seven Tree Elementary School campuses in Santa Cruz (Weston Miles Architects), providing the design for the 10 MW worth of new design build roof top photovoltaic solar panels on multiple County of Santa Clara facilities (Stronghold Construction), installing our DSA pre-approved solar walkway canopies at San Jose's Orchard Elementary School (HMC Architects), designing the subterranean retention pool for the recycled rainwater storage used to irrigate the green roofs at the College Terrace (Carrasco Design) commercial development in Palo Alto or the gray water system at the Alameda's Ploughshares project (Kahn Design Associates) - see article below - Hohbach-Lewin is experienced with and ready to consider all options to meet the challenges of forward looking owners interested in achieving sustainable building development solutions.

Every design decision on every project involves tradeoffs - these tradeoffs all have impacts on the project's eventual and overall life cycle carbon costs. That's why when called upon, Hohbach-Lewin has been performing life cycle analyses during schematic design of the project utilizing proprietary software, ATHENA, to attempt to quantify these costs so that the decisions driven by sustainability considerations are made with as true a picture of the impacts as possible and not made solely with the intent of maximizing LEED points. Our integrated structural/civil design approach also enhances the chance that these tradeoffs are fully considered.

From Careful Collaboration to Ploughshares

Hohbach-Lewin, Inc.'s civil engineering department recently collaborated with Berkeley architectural firm, Kahn Design Associates for the design of Ploughshares Nursery's new Alameda facility, which promises to be among the East Bay's most innovative and sustainable non-profit projects of 2012. The facility will be operated by Alameda Point Collaborative, a non-profit organization that provides housing and services to create community, where formerly homeless people can thrive and transition into viable and productive lives. Their programs, including The Ploughshares Nursery, provide vocational training, guidance and opportunities for individuals and families to recover their stability and increase their self-sufficiency. The Ploughshares Nursery sells California native, drought resistant and edible plants to the general public and regularly hosts free workshops on environmentally friendly gardening.

The project, which was unanimously approved by the City of Alameda Planning Board, will be a pioneer of sustainable construction in Alameda. The city has never permitted a structure of this kind. "In terms of sustainability, the project is particularly gratifying in that it gave us the opportunity to use all the natural resources available on the site", said project designer Jennifer Downing of Kahn Design Associates. "In addition to the bio-swale water treatment, a living roof and photo-voltaics, the building will sit on the existing Nursery grounds and will be made literally from the ground up."

A host of innovative and green strategies and alternative construction technologies including walls composed of a combination of straw bale and earth bag construction, extensive use of salvaged, recycled and surplus materials for non-structural building components such as windows, doors, flooring and wall materials were incorporarted. Alternative sustainable strategies include roof mounted photo-voltaic panels, a living roof, natural ventilation, and a berming system at the root cellar which controls the temperature without a mechanical system. The structure's form and orientation were carefully considered during the design process to protect occupants from Alameda's strong westerly wind patterns, while maximizing photovoltaic output. Storm water is collected in rain catchment barrels and then re-used for on-site landscape and on-going operational irrigation. Grey water is filtered, treated and then routed to the on-site bio-swales.

The project is partially funded by a combination of grants received from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Yahoo Employee Foundation, and the City of Alameda.

Richard Tso, P.E. Joins Hohbach-Lewin as New Civil Engineering Division Manager

Hohbach-Lewin, Inc. has been providing integrated structural and civil engineering design services for several years now, but recently took two very important steps to significantly enhance our ability to deliver civil engineering design services across a wider spectrum of land development and civil engineering design projects.

First, Richard Tso, P.E. has joined the firm as the Civil Engineering Division Manger. Richard has close to twenty years of experience (including over a decade with the local civil engineering firm Kier and Wright) performing and overseeing civil engineering design services for commercial, multi unit and custom residential and institutional developments. Rich is an expert in the implementation of C.3 and sustainable design solutions. He has served as the engineer of record for many, many projects certified to each level of LEED certification.

Secondly, Hohbach-Lewin has formed a strategic alliance with a leading Modesto based surveying firm which has opened a Bay Area based branch office in the Hohbach-Lewin's Palo Alto office. Establishing this very close working relationship allows Hohbach-Lewin the ability to offer its clients comprehensive and timely land surveying services (including: Alta Surveys, boundary surveys, topographic surveys, lot line adjustments; mapping services and 3D laser scanning), all under Hohbach-Lewin's direct supervision.

Give Richard a call (650-617-5930 ext. 267) for a quick "off the cuff" site analysis to determine C.3 impacts, sustainability opportunities or other important preliminary issues that ought to be immediately considered at the onset of any anticipated site development project... chances are very good that Richard has already completed a similar project and/or has personal relationships and has worked with the agency likely to have the greatest impact on the project's ultimate success.

Announcing... Hohbach-Lewin Annual Ski Trip!

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Mark your calendars for the February 23, 2012 Hohbach-Lewin Thursday Sugar Bowl Ski Day getaway!

Call or email Michael Resch, S.E. (650-617-5930 ext. 225; mresch@hohbach-lewin.com) to reserve your spot!

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