California Air Resources Board breaks ground for new $419M lab, headquarters in Riverside; $154M from VW settlement
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) broke ground on its new state-of-the-art Southern California headquarters. The 380,000-square-foot building will be home to one of the largest and most advanced vehicle emissions testing and research facilities in the world. Construction costs of $419 million, which include $108 million for specialized laboratory and testing equipment, were approved by the Legislature in July. Of those costs, $154 million comes from fines paid by Volkswagen for air quality violations related to the diesel car cheating case. Additional funds will come from the Motor Vehicle Account, the Air Pollution Control Fund and the Vehicle Inspection Repair Fund.
CARB chose the site near the University of California, Riverside, in March 2016 and completed environmental studies in June 2017.
The headquarters will be LEED Platinum, the highest level awarded by the US Green Building Council for the overall sustainability and energy efficiency of a building. The headquarters also will be the single largest net-zero energy structure in the nation, in terms of square footage and load. (That means it will produce as much energy as it uses.) Solar panels affixed to roofs and walls, and panels over the parking area, together will supply at least 3.5 megawatts of electricity. Adjacent parking will include at least 120 charging stations for electric vehicles.
The new headquarters will include light-, medium- and heavy-duty test cells, with additional space for creating new testing methods for future generations of vehicles. There also will be space for enhanced onboard diagnostics and portable emissions measurement system development, and a separate chemistry laboratory. Planned office and administration space will accommodate about 460 employees. In addition, there will be a formal reception area, media center, and a 250-person auditorium with an adjacent conference room for overflow for Board meetings, workshops or other events.
Currently, CARB and other state officials are in the process of choosing the contractor to design and build the new headquarters, based on established state contracting process and rules. Construction is slated to begin in February.
Federal, state and local officials spoke at the event before an audience of more than 400. Among those in attendance were CARB Chair Mary Nichols, CARB Executive Officer Richard Corey, U.S. Congressman Mark Takano, U.S. Congressman Ken Calvert, U.S. Congressman Mark DeSaulnier; California State Senator Richard Roth, California State Assemblymember Jose Medina; University of California Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Riverside Mayor William R. Bailey, III, and Riverside County Supervisor John Tavaglione.