In its Annual Report on Sustainable Practices, the UC system announced that its escalated efforts to embrace green architecture saved the system $32 million in 2011, up $11 million from 2010.
The UC credited its savings to the 38 campus buildings constructed in conjunction with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards in 2011, giving it a total of 87 LEED-certified facilities. The certification of new and existing buildings, which includes energy efficient retrofitting, heating, lighting and other adjustments, is part of ongoing environmental efforts of the university’s Energy Efficiency Partnership with the California State University and California Community Colleges systems.
The partnership began in 2004 and has received $47.5 million in grants and over $150 million in other contributions to fund construction.
UCSB LEED Program Manager Jordan Sager said the campus strives to build new LEED facilities that will produce as little waste as possible while also minimizing the environmental impacts of construction.
“When we build a new building in one of the UC campuses, depending on its intended function, we incorporate features which will minimize the energy and water use of the facility while meeting the research and functional needs of its occupants,” Sager said in an email. “Of equal concern [is] ensuring that post-consumer and local building components are used to the extent they are available and that we divert as much of the construction waste from the landfills as possible.”
The sustainability report states that all new buildings, with the exception of acute care facilities, are to be built in accordance with at least the LEED Silver rating and all renovation projects costing at east $5 million are to be eligible for LEED certification. The UC expects to receive $10.9 million in incentive payments.
Campus Sustainability Coordinator and The Green Initiative Fund Grants Manager Jasmine Syed said UC sustainability policy also requires campuses to achieve major increases in on-site renewable power, a 75 percent decrease in landfill waste and reductions of emission levels to where they stood in 2000 by 2014.
Although UCSB’s projected growth presents a roadblock toward achieving the sustainability goals, Syed said the university aims to maintain its compliance with LEED standards.
“Our campus is expected to grow by 5,000 students, 300 faculty and 1,400 staff members by 2025,” Syed said in an email. “Be that as it may, UCSB is well on its way and the prospects are promising. We are scheduled to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050.”
Sager said UCSB is a leader in statewide sustainable construction efforts.
“UCSB was the first campus in the UC system to build a LEED Platinum Building — Bren Hall,” Sager said. “Among the many building elements which were incorporated at Bren were drought-tolerant and native landscaping, ultra high-efficiency water fixtures and irrigation, efficient laboratory ventilation, a solar photovoltaic system, recycled steel and cement in construction, and non-toxic paints and carpeting.”
The campus also holds the highest number of LEED facilities in the program’s Existing Building Category including San Clemente Village, the Student Resource Building, the Recreation Center and 13 others.