UCSB Housing & Residential Services has made a number of eco-friendly renovations to Anacapa Residence Hall over the summer, providing incoming freshmen with an even ‘greener’ home in Santa Barbara.
The residence hall buildings Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz and Anacapa are facing the first of many restoration efforts, as these 1950s-era dormitories are the oldest of UCSB’s residence hall buildings. Santa Rosa’s renovation last summer received a gold-star rating from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and this year, UCSB Housing & Residential Services is applying for that same prestigious ranking for Anacapa. With the additional certification, UCSB — named one of the most sustainable schools nationwide by the Sierra Club — would continue its strong tradition of environmental efforts.
According to Mark Rousseau, energy and environmental manager for Housing & Residential Services, the Anacapa project includes improvements to the sprinklers and fire alarms in the buildings, as well as improved conditioning systems, lights, furniture, windows and other parts of the building’s core infrastructure.
Rousseau said UCSB’s continuing renovations are made according to each building’s “age and condition” and he said all the projects include “enhancing Life Safety elements” by installing more sprinklers and new fire alarm systems to each building. However, Rousseau said other improvements include “new heating and hot water systems, air handling and conditioning systems, lighting, windows, carpet, furniture, paint and ceiling tiles.”
Additionally, the university has sought to provide on-campus housing with “world class facilities,” according to Rousseau, in order to offer students the most comfortable amenities and best living experience possible. While completing these goals, UCSB has also sought to ensure that there is a relatively small carbon footprint in the process, using as little of the earth’s resources as possible, Rousseau said.
The “original vision” — as detailed in Housing & Residential Services’ Strategic Plan — puts emphasis on giving students “a healthy, safe, friendly community that they now call home while they are at UCSB pursuing their academic endeavors,” Rousseau said.
But with the integration of eco-friendly renovations, the university has decided to seek Green Building Certification from LEED, which Rousseau said is a rating system monitored by the U.S. Green Building Council. The rating system includes Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels, and UCSB is now seeking the gold rating for Anacapa, as Santa Rosa previously received that level.
Additionally, students will be encouraged to know about the renovations and the green elements accomplished through social media sites and through other events and postings around campus.
“We will let students know about the renovations through H&RS’s Facebook, DigiKnow and the Gold Certification plaque that we’ll hang in the buildings. We also plan to have a website describing the green elements accomplished during the renovation,” Rousseau said.
There will also be annual energy contests open to students living on-campus, according to Rousseau, who said students will be notified of their “energy use and savings,” with residence halls that hold the highest energy savings receiving “prizes like surfboards, skateboards [and] laptops.”
According to LEED Program Manager Jordan Sager, Housing & Residential Services went beyond their initial plans to improve only the fire sprinklers and alarm systems at each building, improving other structures, like heating and air conditioning systems, at each building. With this modernized and more efficient infrastructure, the campus’s older residence halls will likely see a smaller waste of natural resources like gas.
The additional improvements will “contribute to minimizing water and energy use in Santa Rosa, while providing a healthier indoor environment for residents and staff in the building,” according to Sager, who explained that lowering water usage through “ultra-high efficiency water fixtures” has been just as much a key goal as lowering energy usage.
Anacapa Residence Hall upgrades include the installation of high-efficiency systems, replacement of single paneled windows with dual-paned reflective windows, installment of air conditioning equipment in public amenities, as well as the installation of LED lighting in all common areas, amongst other changes, Sager said.
Many of these improvements were made with the intention of improving indoor living conditions in particular. Sager said, “A great emphasis was placed on improving indoor environmental quality. The new windows will reflect a large portion of direct sunlight and keep rooms cooler.”
Next summer, Santa Cruz residence halls will see the same renovations that have been made to Santa Rosa and Anacapa.