The U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program for existing buildings has recognized the Recreation Center at UC Santa Barbara with Silver certification, the first university facility of its type to be so recognized.
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an evaluation and award system created by the U.S. Green Building Council to rate the sustainable operations and maintenance of existing buildings (EB) and new construction (NC), among other categories.
The Recreational Center received the award for reducing its measured environmental footprint: recycling was increased by 70%, trash was reduced by 55%, and electrical usage, natural gas and water consumption were reduced substantially, all without reducing the operational capabilities of the Recreation Center or affecting its mission of providing recreational opportunities to UCSB's faculty, staff, and students.
In addition, the Recreation Center will be installing a 133 kWh photovoltaic array on its Multi-Activity Center (MAC) roof this summer.
Once installed, the array will be the largest on-site renewable energy generator on the UCSB campus, producing approximately 70% of the power required to run the 55,000 square-foot building.
"We expect the MAC to be electrically self sufficient once the solar modules are operational and additional electrical conservation/efficiency programs are put in place," said Gary Jurich, director of the Recreation Center.
In early 2009 the Recreation Center plans to install solar thermal water heaters to provide pre-heated water for its 1.8 million gallon pool, which, in tandem with the newly installed thermally efficient pool covers, will reduce natural gas usage by 80% and save $160,000 each year. The pool is heated to a year-round 81 degrees and currently relies exclusively on natural gas.
The Recreation Center was the first of 25 UCSB campus buildings to be certified through the LEED Portfolio pilot program -- the other 24 buildings will be certified over the next five years.
UCSB is one of four university campuses nationwide participating in this pilot program, which establishes a baseline of LEED points for all new and existing buildings.
"We are honored to have been selected as one of a handful of universities for this pilot program," said Ron Cortez, Associate Vice Chancellor for Administrative Services, who coordinates sustainability activities on the campus. "The Portfolio Program will allow us to continue LEED certifying buildings on campus in a more cost-effective way, and allow us to have the most LEED-Existing Buildings certified in the UC system."
To date, UCSB has received four LEED awards, with a fifth pending: Recreation Center (LEED-EB Silver); Bren Hall (LEED-NC, Platinum); Marine Science Research Building (LEED-NC, Certified); Girvetz Hall (LEED-EB, Silver); and Student Resources Building (LEED-NC, Silver pending).
For more information on UCSB's green building program, please visit http://sustainability.ucsb.edu/built/green_buildings.php and for information on the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED program, visit http://www.usgbc.org.