Genesis Marina, a 570,000-square-foot commercial office and laboratory project that general contractor Webcor is delivering in Brisbane, CA, is officially the world’s first Total Resource Use and Efficiency (TRUE) precertified construction site.
The TRUE program is administered by Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI), which also implements Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, the world’s most widely used green building rating system. The precertification recognizes projects that have implemented the fundamental actions and policies needed to effectively pursue zero waste and have demonstrated a commitment to achieving TRUE certification.
Pursuit of TRUE certification aligns with the forward-thinking vision that Phase 3 Real Estate Partners, Inc. and Bain Capital Real Estate (developer/owner) share for their Genesis projects.
“The companies that will call Genesis Marina home are discovering the future. Programs like the TRUE certification, through its focus on sustainability, reusability, and social responsibility, are key to that future as well,” says Michael Gerrity, president of Phase 3 Real Estate Partners, Inc. “Phase 3 and Bain are excited and supportive [of the fact] that Webcor and our project team have undertaken this significant effort.”
“We are proud to partner with a forward-thinking builder such as Webcor that leads the construction industry by not only building some of the most well-known and impactful projects in the country, but also ensuring their actions throughout the construction process positively impact society and the environment for generations to come,” says Joe Marconi, a managing director at Bain Capital Real Estate.
Webcor has been driving this highly ambitious sustainability initiative in partnership with zero waste consultant All About Waste since March 2021. Located on a former landfill, the Genesis Marina project site is expected to divert over 90 percent of its waste from landfills and incineration. These efforts help significantly reduce carbon emissions, support public health, and promote local jobs and alternatives to the traditional approach of disposing of the materials – aligning with the stringent California policies driving the state to a circular economy future.
“Webcor is a pioneer for TRUE certification because they’re delivering the first construction project to achieve precertification – a key first step to achieving full certification and becoming the first TRUE-certified construction site,” says Denise Braun, principal at All About Waste. “The official TRUE certification standard was designed for existing facilities, not construction sites. There’s a lot of potential for growth in that arena, and Webcor has created the foundation to manage both on-site field and in-office waste in an effective, progressive manner.”
“While LEED focuses on mainly energy and water efficiency (Genesis Marina is pursuing LEED Gold certification), TRUE certification helps the site dramatically reduce waste that is brought in while also ensuring that removed waste is reused and diverted from becoming trash. TRUE is a rigorous zero waste program in part because it does not accept incineration as a diversion strategy,” says Celeste McMickle, director at U.S. Green Building Council.
The pursuit of TRUE certification directly aligns with Webcor’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy: Two of the Waste Management goals established on its CSR website states the company’s commitments to implementing a TRUE program for zero waste on a jobsite by the end of next year and to reducing overall waste by 2 percent annually.
“Construction is one of the leading industries in waste, but it doesn’t have to be,” says Soonrock Park, the Webcor senior project manager overseeing Genesis Marina. “Webcor has always led bold initiatives in construction; our pursuit of TRUE certification for this project is just one example. TRUE encourages all participants, from designers to end users, to consider the full circular economy of the materials we bring to a site and use within our operations. The goal is to divert all solid waste from the landfill, incineration, and the environment.”
“About 65 percent of all U.S. waste comes from construction and demolition (C&D) debris, yet in California only 40 percent of that C&D debris is diverted from landfills,” adds Webcor Sustainability Director Jenelle Shapiro. “To put it in perspective, our one construction business, on average, generates 1,700 tons of C&D debris monthly, which annually is equivalent to 130 blue whales – the largest animal in the world. For perspective, a blue whale is the length of a Boeing 737. That is a lot of waste, and a lot of opportunity, and we are just one general contractor.”
When Shapiro and Webcor Sr. Vice President Tom Taylor first approached the Genesis Marina team about pursuing TRUE certification, they were met with enthusiastic support from all team leaders – despite the unique challenges that lay ahead.
“Honestly, we didn’t pick an ‘easy’ project,” Shapiro says. “It has no demolition debris, which usually accounts for the majority of the total diversion percentage weight. This means that meeting the minimum 90 percent diversion rate requirement is even more difficult than it would be on a more typical project, but we didn’t want to take the easy approach. We wanted to challenge ourselves and the market to make it feasible on any type of project!”
Whether an existing facility or a construction site, achieving TRUE certification is no simple feat. To be considered eligible, projects must meet a minimum of seven program requirements (prerequisites) and attain at least 31 points on the TRUE scorecard. Such criteria includes implementing a zero waste policy by diverting 90 percent of all waste generated, as well as meeting all solid waste and recycling regulations.
“Many other certifications were designed decades ago to spur on sustainable design,” says Brock Hill, vice president at Premiere Recycle Company, a Recycling Certification Institute (RCI)-certified waste hauler and processing facility managing the construction debris for Genesis Marina. “While they have had success, an entire industry has been built around achieving those points. Changing those certifications is synonymous to turning a moving cruise ship. Pursuing TRUE takes courage to blaze a new path; it's not a cookie-cutter process in current norms.”
As the journey to achieving TRUE certification continues, the Webcor team remains prepared to tackle all challenges inherent in pursuing such a game-changing and unique sustainability certification.
“We need to change the mentality of personnel at all levels – field, office, vendors, manufacturers, etc. – and inspire them to care about waste and the way it’s being handled,” says Miranda Nowlen, a Webcor senior project engineer on Genesis Marina who has championed the project’s pursuit of TRUE certification. “Implementing a program like TRUE certification challenges the designers, general contractors, trade partners, vendors, and end users to be conscious of where the product began and where it will end – something that isn’t always considered. We are proud to lay the groundwork [for zero waste construction sites] and push the construction industry to re-evaluate how it operates.”
Webcor’s Genesis Marina team gathers for a quarterly executive meeting. From left to right: Miranda Nowlen, Nathaniel Crawford, Hamza Shallwani, Bernard Brown, Ben Jodis, John Tuttle, Isaac Winn (summer intern), Mario Saenz, Arya Bodaghi, Soonrock Park, Omar Hosny (not pictured: Stefanie Cooke) Photo provided by Webcor
Photo of pallets being salvaged and awaiting to be sent back to Webcor’s equipment yard for reuse. Photo provided by Webcor
Field staff source-separate construction materials in the four-tier collection systems, built by Webcor jobsite personnel. Photo provided by Webcor
Webcor is a premier provider of commercial construction services, known for its innovative and efficient approach, wide range of experience, cost-effective design-build methodology, skill in concrete construction and expertise in building landmark projects. Webcor’s mission is to build structures of superior quality with integrity, continuously improve its processes by employing the best talent in the industry, and add social and economic value to its communities. Founded in 1971 and repeatedly honored as one of the Greenest Builders in California, Healthiest Employers, Top Corporate Philanthropists, Best Places to Work and Largest California Construction Firms, Webcor has offices throughout the state in San Francisco, Alameda, San Jose, San Diego, and Los Angeles. More information is available on the Webcor website and on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
About All About Waste
All About Waste is a woman and minority-owned sustainability and zero waste consulting firm based in California. We are WBE, MBE, and DBE certified. Their diverse set of services includes green building certifications, circular economy solutions, zero waste assessment & consulting, workshops, and community outreach. The team has deep technical knowledge of the green building and solid waste management industries and is passionate about constantly learning and improving. Their experience includes working with clients including developers, property management companies, utilities, municipalities, public agencies, institutions, corporations and others who seek leadership in the arena of high performing, socio-environmentally responsible and resilient buildings. They have worked to certify more than 200 different LEED, WELL, Fitwel, and TRUE projects, and have performed waste assessments/audits for more than 37 million square feet of commercial buildings. The All About Waste is a client-centric and value teamwork, integrity, creativity, and effectiveness in all of our projects. AAW is responsible achieving some remarkable results: certified the 1st TRUE zero waste high-rise building in the world, the 1st zero waste building in San Francisco and Sunnyvale, as well as the 1st multi-tenant and residential building that earn the TRUE certification in the world.
About Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)
GBCI is the premier organization independently recognizing excellence in green business industry performance and practice globally. Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems, as well as the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), TRUE certification for zero waste, Parksmart, the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL building standard, EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), and the Investor Confidence Project (ICP) for energy efficiency retrofits. www.gbci.org
Genesis is a life science real estate brand that leverages the deep experience and global breadth of its owners' partnership to create an environment focused on meeting the needs of its tenants to accelerate their ground-breaking discovery. Genesis' owners unique integrated venture combines Phase 3 Real Estate Partner's decades of life science real estate development and tenant experience with Bain Capital's pioneering value-add investment approach and the firm's decades of leading experience in the Healthcare and Life Science industry At Genesis, we relentlessly pursue not only to provide the right environment today but through our deep industry partnerships and participation provide the best environment for cultivating tomorrow's undiscovered advances in science.
About Phase 3
Phase 3 Real Estate Partners, Inc., ("Phase 3") develops premier ready to occupy research and development facilities in the major innovation clusters of the United States. Phase 3's focus on delivering the highest quality space with accelerated speed to occupancy within these key geographies allows companies to immediately pursue their scientific goals. The Phase 3 team delivers a clean, modern design aesthetic, the right combination of amenities to create community and appropriate infrastructure to meet the needs of the companies who call our facilities home. The firm's expertise in development, construction and management of life science facilities results in a strong partnership between our tenants and our team. Phase 3's current portfolio consists of nearly 3 million square feet and is growing in San Diego, San Francisco and Boston.
About Bain Capital Real Estate
Bain Capital Real Estate was formed in 2018 and pursues investments in often hard-to-access sectors underpinned by enduring secular trends that drive long-term demand growth for real estate assets and services. The Bain Capital Real Estate team has been executing its strategy since 2010 (formerly as a part of Harvard Management Company), having invested over $5.2 billion of equity in over 475 assets across multiple sectors, including over $1.4 billion in over 5.7 million SF of life science assets. Bain Capital Real Estate focuses on small to mid-sized assets where the team applies its deep industry expertise to accelerate impact and drive operational improvements. Bain Capital Real Estate's strategy aligns with the value-added investment approach that Bain Capital pioneered beginning in 1984 and leverages the firm's deep expertise in healthcare and life sciences across numerous subsectors.
Communications Director, Webcor
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