Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Team Tsunami Sundae Takes Silver with Sushi Dragon

Team Tsunami Sundae, tools and buckets ready!

OCTOBER 11, 2014, SAN FRANCISCO. Congratulations to Team Tsunami Sundae for winning Silver Spoon for Best in Show (second place) in the 31st Annual LEAP Sandcastle Competition that took place last Saturday at Ocean Beach. Twenty-nine teams of architects, engineers, contractors and designers donated time, tools, imagination, expertise and feet-on-the-sand for the benefit of local elementary schools. Each team raised money for the event, which is the largest fundraising event of the year for Leap. Over $250,000 and counting has been raised so far; money that goes towards Leap’s mission of bringing arts education into Bay Area elementary schools.

This year’s theme was “Food, Glorious Food!” Siegel & Strain was excited to lead a team for the first time, the Tsunami Sundae team, which was comprised of Forsythe General Contractors, Ben C. Gerwick Inc., Jacobs Associates, Siegel & Strain Architects and URS Corporation in partnership with Lawton Alternative School.

The students of two fourth grade classes at Lawton worked with the team weeks before the competition to come up with their sculpture design: SUSHI DRAGON! The team then transformed this idea to a clay model. On the day of the event, team members, students and family members combined their efforts to shovel sand, scoop water, carve, bucket-brigade, stomp, brush, and rake out the final sand sculpture. Below are a few snapshots of the team, the work-in-progress and the completed sushi dragon. Great team work and skills paid off to win the team second place! A sand-tastic time was had by all!

Special thanks to our sponsors who generously donated over $6000 on behalf of Lawton Alternative School: Bluestone Engineering, Inc., Engineering 350, Kaufman Construction, Glenn Macomber Construction, Oberkamper & Associates, PGAdesign Inc., Pittman Drywall, Point Energy Innovations, T. Rintamaki, Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey Landscape Architects, Teecom, Kevin Wagner, Ware Associates, plus the team firms.

Clay model

Sushi Dragon takes shape

Many hands make light work

Team Leader Santiago soothes the dragon
From left: Siegel & Strain's Larry Strain, Team Captain Lindsey Moder, Susi Marzuola, Marjorie Smith, and Pyatok's Peter Waller.

Admiring the team's work
Sushi Dragon emerges

Thursday, July 17, 2014

TEAM BIKE CHALLENGE: Small Company Category

Siegel & Strain Team Places Second in Alameda County, Fifth in All Counties

The 2014 Team Bike Challenge results are in. In the Company Bike Challenge category of Small Businesses (1-50 local employees), the Siegel & Strain team racked up a notable 1225.3 miles, especially impressive with only 12 team members, nine of which recorded miles. In the county of Alameda, these miles placed the team in second place behind kW Engineering’s 32-member team with 3120 miles.

The competition includes nine counties in the greater Bay Area: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. In addition, companies in large, medium and small business categories compete in their categories. The Siegel & Strain team placed fifth in all counties for Small Businesses.

The Team Bike Challenge is a competition held throughout the month of May. It encourages bicycle riding to replace other forms of transportation, saving carbon emissions, reducing
stress, and increasing energy levels, as stated on the Team Bike Challenge website, Teams are made up of at least five members. Miles ridden instead of driven are logged in daily and translated into trips taken, points earned, calories burned. At the end of the month, points are tallied and the team with the most points in each category wins.


Within the firm’s team, Marjorie Smith takes gold for riding 233 miles. Susi Marzuola, who wasn’t far behind with 226 miles, takes silver. Michael Hayden wins the bronze with 165 miles.

Many employees at Siegel & Strain use bicycle transportation to ride to work or run errands on a regular basis. Kudos to all employees, on and off the team, who continue to use alternative transportation throughout the year to do an important part to reduce carbon emissions and stay healthy.


Friday, February 7, 2014

Part I: Jackson Sustainable Winery Building

Collaboration Pays Off with Stunning Performance Metrics

by Nancy Malone, LEED Fellow

Photo: Siegel & Strain Architects

This past May, Siegel & Strain celebrated the dedication of the Jess S. Jackson Sustainable Winery Building (JSWB) at UC Davis. And now we are celebrating again, this time for great energy monitoring outcomes!

The JSWB is designed to operate passively and to provide support services, such as electricity production, water filtration and carbon sequestration to the adjacent winery. Our design task was to deliver a passive, net-zero building: the building stays within tightly defined temperature limits without heating and cooling, and generates more electrical energy than it consumes. And based on data collected to date, we are on track to achieve this AND a Living Building Challenge Net Zero Energy certification in about one year’s time.

The main strategy behind achieving net zero energy was to create a completely unplugged (from building systems) and passive building – not easy in Davis’ hot climate, which regularly reaches summer temperatures of 100º F or more – by taking advantage of a diurnal temperature swing of as much as 40º. Our primary strategies include:

• super-insulated building envelope (R-56 walls, R-70 roof)
• a very tight building envelope (blower door test result of 1,950cfm @ 50 Pascals)
• thermal mass in a slab-on-grade floor and an 8’ high CMU wall
• shading of windows and east and west elevations
• daylighting
• night time ventilation

JSWB appears in the upper left with six new water tanks in place. Photo: UC Davis
The passive design strategies drive the design – but not without fitting into the campus in terms of form, materials and detailing. The sloped roof relates to the nearby winery structures and is oriented for photovoltaic panels. The adjacent flat roof steps down to bring daylight to the middle of the building; it is also set up to receive future concentrating solar collectors. The sloped roof extends beyond the east and west ends of the building to create deep porches that provide extra shade and increase the available area for photovoltaic panels by 30%. Vertical shading devices on the north side shade the windows in the hottest months and create beautiful shadows on the building. Every design move does double or triple duty.

Photo: Jasper Sanidad

Passive buildings are never, by their nature, of one gesture or by one author. Rather, they require integrated sets of strategies and a circular, feedback-driven design process across disciplines. And so it is here. We worked closely with a great team to develop and refine the design strategies and were able to repeatedly justify our design decisions – internally and for the client group.

The project is a design/build effort led by Siegel & Strain Architects/Pankow Builders, with design team members Guttmann & Blavoet (G&B), Ingraham DeJesse Associates (IDA) and Cunningham Engineering. Together, we adjusted the design through a series of collaborative meetings and no less than 60 runs of the energy model, constantly evaluating performance relative to construction cost. This level of design iteration is essential for high performance buildings. And to be mainstream, high performance buildings must be cost effective. At one point in the design process we were still 5º F away from our targeted performance point, and we knew that adding thermal mass would get us closer to our goal. G&B calculated how much mass we needed through energy modeling; IDA figured out how tall a CMU wall could be before needing to drastically change the reinforcing or footing. By evaluating the strategy together, we landed on the most cost effective means of achieving our goal.

And the additional design effort has paid off. Several weeks of monitoring during the hottest summer months show that the building is performing right on target: while outside temperatures swing about 40º F each day, the building stays within a narrow band of approximately 5º F. And that feels really good, both from within the building, but also from where I sit reading the data.

Thermal Performance

One month of indoor temperatures showing that the building performs 
as modeled within prescribed temperatures relative to outdoor temperatures. 
Spkes in indoor temperatures are due to days when the doors were left open for tours.

Graph: Department of Viticulture & Enology, UC Davis