San Marcos Medical Center

Salas O’Brien collaborated with Kaiser Permanente to provide electrical design and engineering services for their new San Marcos Medical Center, the first Kaiser Permanente hospital that includes a Microgrid system. Our innovative electrical design with the capability to function in “island mode” – entirely independent of utility power – provides a reliable power source and eliminates the risk of operational interruption due to the loss of utility power.

The medical center includes a 28,000-square-foot Central Utility Plant capable of providing 1.75 megawatts of power from a Bloom Energy fuel cell array. Designed with provisions for a photovoltaic system, the medical center will have the ability to generate power on-site to feed the microgrid system.

The seven-story hospital tower has 206 hospital beds, eight operating rooms, full-service emergency services, and inclusive labor and delivery services. In addition, it incorporates advanced patient care technology, such as robotic surgery, interactive single-patient rooms, virtual fall prevention, and energy and sleep-promoting lighting systems.

We designed the hospital with a low-voltage DC lighting system utilizing Class 2 wiring, eliminating the need for 5.6 miles of 3/4-inch conduit and 4.5 miles of metal-clad cables. The California Department of Health Care Access and Information (HCAI) has reviewed and approved this innovative and cost-saving system, making it the first of its kind.

The project was LEED-gold designed; however, due to our visionary electrical design, including DC lighting and microgrid, it received the prestigious LEED platinum certification, making it the second new Kaiser Permanente hospital to receive this highly-coveted designation.



Completion Year



455,359 square feet


CO Architects


LEED Platinum Certification

Construction Cost

$526 million

Four years ago, this system was just a concept on paper, and to see it in action brings joy to my heart. This project included many ‘firsts’ that required innovation, trust, and partnership among a large group of technical experts. The final product is a true example of Kaiser’s dedication to environmental leadership and the highest level of excellence in patient care. I speak for everyone on the Salas O’Brien team when I say that we are incredibly proud to have played an essential role in this medical center.
Duc Bui, PEPrincipal and Client Manager, Salas O’Brien