Sustainable Cafeteria

300 N. Los Angeles Federal Building
Los Angeles, CA

Project Approach and Relevant Features

The project involved the renovation of existing office space into a new Sustainable Cafeteria located in the 300 N. Los Angeles Federal Building. The design included green/sustainable design features with a goal of LEED Gold Certification and used recycled/recovered materials wherever possible. Charles Beavers was the architect and project manager while with Interactive Resources. Brokaw Design was the electrical and lighting engineer.

Resource conservation was a primary concern from the beginning of the project. The kitchen contains 75 pieces of commercial food service equipment, all EnergyStar rated. The use of process water was minimized throughout, including an energy-efficient and water-efficient dishwashing system used in tandem with a composting system. Our team incorporated the latest advances in energy efficient lighting and energy conserving controls, including dimmable fluorescent lamps for general illumination and LED technology for accent lighting, sconces and pendants to provide ambiance at very low energy cost.

The greatest contribution to energy conservation, from a lighting perspective, may actually come from the controls which provide for programmable scenes integrated with occupancy sensors and day lighting sensors. This allows the system to be fine-tuned for optimum output and energy conservation based on the time of day, outdoor lighting levels and occupancy. Our team’s design included sustainable materials including recycled countertops, readily renewable casework and linoleum flooring, and low-VOC paints and adhesives. Everyone’s favorite part of the project is the beautiful recycled crushed glass countertops in the server room.

The cafeteria’s dramatic location, with seating on three sides of a mezzanine overlooking the entrance lobby, allows diners to visually interact with the lobby offering an open and warm experience completely different from the confined lunch room experience so often found in any other federal buildings. The cafeteria includes a full commercial kitchen, exhibition cooking line, servery with coffee/smoothie bar, soup and salad bars. Operations will incorporate healthy eating choices, and use organic alternatives and locally-sourced food products. A recycling and composting program will minimize waste going to landfills.

Strict controls during construction defined by a construction waste management plan diverted 95 percent of construction and demolition debris from disposal in landfills. The plan included the onsite sorting of waste for removal to recyclers and the reuse of materials, such as the reuse of marble panels carefully removed from lobby walls for use inside the cafeteria.

Client-Focused Solutions and Benefits

The project was seen by GSA as a showcase of sustainable technologies in its design, construction and operation providing fresh, healthy and sustainable meal choices to the 1,750 federal workers, plus the many public visitors to the building. The project is attempting to achieve a LEED Gold rating.

Cost Control, Quality of Work, and Compliance With Performance Schedules

The design was completed under an accelerated timeframe to comply with ARRA requirements. During construction, the design team worked tirelessly with GSA and the contractor to overcome obstacles uncovered during construction that impeded key elements such as the kitchen exhaust duct that had to slope within a very confined space over long distances.

The cafeteria has been received with great enthusiasm by building tenants. A ribbon-cutting was held on November 18, 2013 with GSA Regional Administrator Ruth Cox.