To support San Jose’s goal to become an environmentally and economically sustainable city and provide 7.5 acres of regional and city-wide parkland per 1,000 people in the city, the City embarked on a $72 million renovation of Happy Hollow Park and Zoo. The vision for the park included extensive green building planning, design and operations, as well as sustainable landscape design and maintenance.


Paladino contributed to the master planning concept and strategy development and supported the green building program through facilitating an eco-charrette and recommending green building strategies to align the park building program to the overall master plan. These sessions directed green design recommendations such as controls upgrades, water use reduction strategies, energy efficiency strategies, lighting strategies and reduction of light trespass.

Features incorporated into the park include green roofs on seven park buildings, stormwater management and recycled graywater usage, radiant flooring heating and cooling instead of HVAC in the majority of buildings, straw bale construction, use of clerestory windows in all buildings to optimize daylight while minimizing solar heat gain; and use of sustainable materials such as recycled base rock, glass and FSC certified wood and recycled plastic lumber. A large educational component to the park’s program was included to foster sustainable living in the community as a whole. In addition, Paladino partnered with the contractor to help them deliver against the LEED Gold certification goal over 30 months of construction, resulting in recycling of 95% of construction waste that left the site.


Ultimately, the project achieved LEED Gold certification in 2010, surpassing its LEED Silver target and becoming the first attraction and zoo as a campus to be certified LEED Gold.