Newsletter Stories

Tuesday, 12 March 2024
Samsara’s Tenant Improvement Takes
1 De Haro’s Base-Build to the Next Level

FSC 2023 Leadership Award Winner Profile

Tenant Improvement Project Partners:
Samsara: Owner
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company: General Contractor/Wood Sourcing
WRNS Studio: Architect
Canopy Project Management: Construction Management

1 De Haro Base-Build Project Partners:
SKS Partners: Project Developer
Perkins&Will: Architect of Record
Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction Company: General Contractor
Nordic Structures: Mass Timber Supplier

Samsara‘s mission is to: Improve the safety, efficiency, and sustainability of the operations that power the global economy.

When looking for a space for their new headquarters, Samsara prioritized buildings that were aligned with their company values. In their inaugural 2022 ESG report, they stated that “Stakeholders are demanding that companies benefit society while also growing revenue. Operating ethically, accountably, and with strong governance has a new urgency in a world of increased transparency.”

“We invest in our people, address climate risks, and promote social justice within our communities. We look at how we can minimize our carbon footprint in our own daily operations, and we use these principles to guide us on our mission.”

These guiding principles led them to lease the entire 130,000 sq ft, LEED Gold, 1 De Haro - the first mass timber building in San Francisco using cross laminated timber (CLT), and the first multi-story CLT building of its type in California.

CLT structural panels offer dimensional stability that is superior to conventional framing, with a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Other benefits included lower embodied carbon energy compared to steel and concrete, a sustainable resource through responsible forestry management, lighter materials, a more natural working environment, and faster speed of construction.

Says Zander Eng, Head of Workplace Design & Build at Samsara, “1 De Haro embodies our ongoing commitment to sustainability and a flexible work environment. From the project's inception, a core design principle has been to provide employees with a sense of optionality, empowering them to do their best work. With a diverse range of space types within the building, our HQ has become a destination for people to come together and build meaningful connections.”

And Perkins&Will Design Director Peter Pfau notes, “It’s amazing how beautiful it is in there. You don’t have to spend money covering up the ugly construction, instead you just celebrate the beauty of the wood and detailed craftsmanship.”

As a speculative construction project, mass timber presented additional benefits as well. The wood beams and supports are a more forgiving and flexible framework than concrete or steel. The needs of future tenants are met by coring holes in the wood--which can be easily plugged as needs change.

The upper floors were constructed with a CLT slab and glulam post and beam structure, utilizing wood-to-wood connections. To dampen the noise resulting from the solid surfaces, the CLT floor slabs were topped by concrete with an acoustic mat break. The vertical and horizontal wood elements of 1 De Haro’s stunning wood ceilings and wide-open spaces between its massive columns inspired a glass curtain wall that wraps the building. The expansive windows naturally light the space and showcase the material to the outside world as well.

 (© ©Wakely)© ©WakelyMass timber was a key selling point as SKS marketed the space. Prospective tenants identified with the building’s story of sustainability and light environmental impact. Many of the prospective tenants noted an internal shift or feeling they got from being in the presence of the wood elements. This is a real phenomena, known as biophillia, that is experienced when inhabiting a space that connects with nature in meaningful ways. Research has shown that employees’ well-being, productivity and creativity improved in a natural office environment.

All the mass timber elements (beams, columns, Cross-Laminated Timber panels) for the main structure were manufactured using FSC Certified wood from Nordic Structure’s 10 million acre harvesting area.

Even with trusted recommendations, Perkins&Will teams still inquire about the wood species, forestry management processes, certifications as well as the location of the mill and the delivery methods. This due diligence provides necessary information beyond just selecting a manufacturer. Wood sourced from different forests has different physical properties that impact engineering and the color, grain, and knots inherent in the species affect the overall appearance of the project.

The 1 De Haro team found Nordic’s turn-key services to be an appealing benefit. The manufacturer not only supplied the product; but also installed and provided design assist coordination services. While Nordic has been FSC certified since 2009, the decision to source all FSC material from Quebec was not immediately considered viable, due to the logistics on the project. Nordic undertook new steps to ship material by rail as a means to draw down the carbon footprint of the project. In partnership with the Canadian National Railway, test loads validating loading and stability of CLT on flatcars were undertaken in the months preceding the start of the job. Once tested and approved by the American Association of Railroads, Nordic shipped 19 railcars to California where they were unloaded for truckload delivery on the jobsite. Total GHG reduction 2964 metric tonnes was effected by choosing wood and shipping by rail.

When counting carbon, understanding how mass timber manufacturers manage their forests, produce their product and their methods of delivery are important factors. Ultimately, design teams need to find a manufacturing partner that shares their vision--not just for the project, but for a carbon-free future.

Perkins&Will, 1 DeHaro’s design architect, produced a webinar: Mass Timber – Why Wood Works, and the following questions were posed: How are the environmental implications of tree farming (monocultured tree farms and the land requirements to host these farms) addressed when determining how sustainable mass timber is? Do certain tree farms implement more sustainable practices than others?

Their answer was: Our control over this is best suited to procurement via proper forestry management. This is why we always push for FSC-certified wood for our projects. Our goal and what we are looking to do is shift timber resources from short term pulp and paper to long-term carbon sequestration (buildings/infrastructure) that doesn't require any increase in timber farming.

The triangular 1 De Haro site had the project team considering wood from early on. The site is directly adjacent to an underground portion of Mission Creek and the poor soils required deep piles to anchor the building on stronger footings. The ultimate weight of the building would determine the number of piles necessary. At one fifth of the weight of a comparable concrete or steel structure, mass timber had a clear advantage. For comparison, Perkins&Will carried both concrete and mass timber designs through schematic design.

 (© photo credit: Lara Swimmer/Esto)© photo credit: Lara Swimmer/EstoWRNS Studio, the interior design architect, leveraged Perkins&Will’s use of FSC certified CLT, promoting a warm aesthetic, minimizing additional finish materials, and relaying a commitment to reduced embodied carbon.

The wood specified for the interior is nearly 100% FSC-certified, helping the tenant improvement project achieve LEED Platinum, exceeding the expectations a new local law mandating that first-generation tenant improvements achieve LEED Gold or higher.

In a case study done by Stok, the LEED project consultant, they found:·

  • 1,806 Metric Tonnes/CO2 is sequestered in the structural wood components·
  • 700 Metric Tonnes/CO2 were avoided by opting for mass timber over concrete and steel·
  • 90% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill

SKS received three offers to take the entire building once Schematic Design was completed.

1 DeHaro won the following awards: