Green Building


Built right next to the rail lines in 1955 by Zellerbach Paper Company, the Stellaria Building was originally used to store logs for paper pulp and ready-to-ship finished paper. Lichen Yew, LLC purchased the building from Down to Earth in late 2010 and began construction on an extensive remodel in January 2011.

Design Inspiration

The remodel was designed to accommodate the business activities of Hummingbird Wholesale as well as a variety of other businesses. The concept behind the remodel was to provide a collaborative and functional space for businesses and organizations who are working toward sustainability and health. We wanted a vibrant, warm working environment full of natural light. We wanted to encourage interaction among the tenants and to meet the needs of the tenants through common means. For example, the tenants share a lunch room and have access to common conference rooms.

Energy Efficiency

In order to minimize energy use in the building, we employed the following strategies:

  • We used highly efficient heating and cooling mechanical equipment, selecting ductless heat pumps, hybrid gas heating system with heat pump cooling and geothermal heating and cooling
  • We super-insulated the building shell using R28 insulation in the walls and R40 in the ceilings
  • Lighting was accomplished by using skylights to provide natural light where possible, energy efficient fluorescent bulbs and occupancy sensors in some areas
  • Hot water is provided to the building with a solar hot water system shared by multiple tenants with a series of tankless natural gas hot water heaters as back up; the hot water also provides heat for a honey warmer used by Hummingbird Wholesale
  • Electric power is produced on the roof by a 27 kilowatt photovoltaic system; a generator provides back up power
  • Tenant water, gas and electric consumption is metered by a web-based system that gives feedback on energy and resource use

Additional Environmental Strategies

  • Indoor bike parking and shower for tenants
  • No-VOC paints and finishes were used including floor finish made from cheese whey
  • A bioswale captures and filters runoff from the parking lot
  • All tenants are required to go through the BRING Re:Think Business program
  • Broken concrete from construction was re-used to create beautiful landscaping borders
  • Original metal siding of building re-used as drop ceiling in some office and common areas

We continue to feel inspired and heartened to see our vision manifested in this beautiful building.