The Leslie Shao-Ming Sun Field Station was designed to meet the needs of the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, a 1,200-acre protected area in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains, five kilometers from Stanford University. With a mission "to contribute to the understanding of the earth's natural systems through research, education, and protection of the Preserve's resources," Jasper Ridge has a long history as a site of significant research in ecology. The majority of studies are concerned with environmental change and the resulting consequences for biotic communities. The Preserve provides a natural laboratory for researchers, educational experiences for students and visitors, and refuge for native plants and animals.
Because this was Stanford's first green building, it was important that it display leadership and make a statement about the importance of conserving natural resources. The design goals were to meet program needs for research, education, collections, and public outreach; to reduce energy consumption and to cause net-zero carbon emissions annually; to use recycled or renewable materials and resources whenever feasible; and to minimize material use and waste.
Site selection considered solar access and impact on natural habitats and archeological resources. Construction site management included fencing to prevent work under the drip line of mature oaks. The project team diverted 95% of the construction waste from the landfill.
Waterfree urinals, dual-flush toilets, and native landscaping reduce water use, and rainwater collected from the roof is reused.
The building includes a 22 kilowatt, grid-connected photovoltaic system and a sophisticated energy monitoring system. Passive cooling and solar heating systems combine with good insulation and extensive daylighting to minimize energy use.
Salvaged, reused, recycled, and low-VOC materials were used when possible. All lumber was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Salvaged materials were used for siding, brick paving, casework, furniture, and bathroom partitions.