Kermit the Frog(TM) To Help Dedicate UC Santa Barbara's New Donald Bren Hall, One of America's Most 'Green' Buildings

Tuesday, April 9, 2002 - 17:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Kermit the Frog(TM) will make a special appearance at UC Santa Barbara on April 19 as host for the grand opening of Donald Bren Hall, home to the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management. This $26 million university structure will be the "greenest" building in California and one of the greenest in the nation.

Known for his signature song "Bein' Green," Kermit the Frog is one of America's most beloved environmental supporters. "It's an honor for me to help unveil this facility," said Kermit the Frog, celebrity amphibian and spokesfrog for the Bren School. "I was surprised to have been asked -- usually, the only place to find frogs on a college campus are in the biology lab."

Overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Donald Bren Hall incorporates all the latest elements of sustainable design. These include solar photovoltaic panels that capture the sunlight to provide almost 10 percent of the building's electricity, natural air cooling using ocean breezes, large windows to harvest the natural light, and energy-efficient lamps and ballasts, including motion and ambient light sensors to control lighting levels.

"This building will be a model for all future construction on the campus," says Henry T. Yang, Chancellor of UCSB. "And Kermit's humility and integrity -- and, of course, color -- create an extraordinary opportunity at the formal opening to tell the nation and the world that being 'green' is easier than you think."

Recyclable materials are used throughout Bren Hall, including in the reclaimed carpets, rubber flooring made from recycled tires, ceiling tiles made from cornstarch and recycled paper, and roofing materials that insulate the roof and reduce energy consumption. Windows have a device that automatically shuts off the room's heating system when opened and reclaimed water is used for irrigation.

"The Bren School will be a 'living laboratory' for sustainable 'green' building practices and materials," says Dennis Aigner, dean of the Bren School. "This building will use 27 to 40 percent less electricity than a conventional structure."

The new Donald Bren Hall has been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(TM)), making it one of the greenest buildings in America.

Aigner, who quarterbacked the construction of the school, praised the industries that contributed to the building's technology. " 'Greening' a 85,000 sq. ft. living laboratory to the highest level of national distinction was a direct result of key sponsors, all of whom will be recognized at the formal opening," he said. The architect was Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership of Los Angeles.

Congresswoman Lois Capps of Santa Barbara notes, "This building is a model not only for UCSB, but also for other university campuses throughout the state and the country."

The project also has the support of the California Energy Commission, which salutes the university's efforts to incorporate the use of renewable energy systems into the building's overall design. Donald Bren Hall received rebates through the State of California for the building's 47- kilowatt solar photovoltaic system.

About the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and ManagementThe Bren School is a University of California systemwide graduate program linking students and faculty members throughout the 10-campus system in the areas of science, management, law, and policy. The Bren School plays a leading role in researching environmental issues, training research scientists and environmental management professionals, and identifying and solving environmental problems around the world. The school is named in honor of Donald Bren, owner and chairman of The Irvine Company, in recognition of his generous support.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Coverage of the building opening is invited. Program begins at 6 p.m Friday, April 19. A press preview tour of the facility will begin at 5 p.m.

KERMIT THE FROG, KERMIT, and character are trademarks of The Jim Henson Company.

All Rights Reserved. KERMIT's comments (c) 2002 The Jim Henson Company.