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Sustainable 2nd Century

Sustainable 2nd Century

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Campus Progress: Overview

Our Sustainable 2nd Century vision: We plan, build, maintain and renew campus buildings to be solutions instead of problems for our energy and climate needs.

Where we are

The University of California has a minimum requirement that all new buildings, except for acute care facilities, meet standards equivalent to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified to the Silver level, and that campuses strive to meet LEED Gold certification standards whenever possible. New buildings are also required to exceed by at least 20 percent the energy savings required by California code (exceptions for acute care facilities).

The Davis campus has set its own bar higher: New buildings should exceed California's energy code by at least 25 percent.

LEED certification promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by including metrics in multiple parts of a building, including considerations for site, water efficiency, energy use, materials, indoor air quality, education and design innovation. Find out which UC Davis buildings are LEED certified or registered.

Sustainable improvements in existing buildings

The U.S. Green Building Council's rating system for existing buildings is called LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. This system evaluates ongoing building operations, including water and energy use, waste stream management, and ongoing indoor environmental quality. 

UC Davis has a team of staff, students and volunteers that work together on a comprehensive LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M program. The team is a partnership between Design and Construction Management, Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability, and the Facilities Management Energy Conservation Office. The team is led by Amy Burns, Green Building Coordinator, Energy Outreach and LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M; Michael Huang, Green Building Analyst, Energy Data; and Diane Wu, Green Building Analyst, Outreach.

A list of LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M registered and certified buildings is available on the Green Building Ratings page.

Energy efficiency in new buildings

Photo: A construction worker installs coils in the floor

Coils in the floor of Gallagher Hall carry either hot or cold water and use radiant heat and cooling to maintain a comfortable temperature.

An important component to an eco-friendly building is addressing its future energy needs — especially for lighting and temperature control — with smart infrastructure.

At Gladys Valley Hall, for example, one of the goals was to optimize daylight inside the building with ceiling, exterior shading and window designs that bring light but not necessarily heat indoors. The building also has natural ventilation maximized by sensor-controlled louvers and uses evaporative cooling in some rooms.

Gallagher Hall stays cool thanks to white roofing materials and light-colored pavement. The building also employs an innovative radiant heating and cooling system using an underground heat pump.

Water efficiency in new buildings

Photo: plants in front of GSM building

Drought-tolerant landscaping surrounds Gallagher Hall.

In several Student Housing projects — including new LEED-registered residence halls in Tercero — water-efficient plumbing is becoming standard, including low-flow toilets and showerheads.

At the brewery, winery and food processing plant, rainwater will be captured and stored in tanks to use for flushing toilets and irrigating landscape — with anticipated savings of 300,000 gallons annually.

Water efficiency also includes drought-tolerant plant choices; at Gallagher Hall, for instance, UC Verde buffalograss and Arboretum All-star plants reduce potable water use by 57 percent. Pervious concrete will also allow storm water to seep into soil, reducing run-off. 

Recycling during and after construction

Photo: lobby

Ceilings in Gallagher Hall use FSC-certified wood.

Construction and demolition projects on campus are required to divert 75 percent of their waste from the landfill. Some construction projects, including Gallagher Hall and Aggie Stadium, set even higher goals for diverting waste. For example, 90 percent of waste from the construction of the brewery, winery and food processing facility were diverted from the landfill.

Student staff members and interns with the Waste Reduction and Recycling program help monitor recycling at campus construction sites by performing site waste assessments and reporting the ultimate diversion rates. For example staff members tracked that 12,890 tons of waste was diverted from the landfill in 2012-2013.

Construction materials at LEED-certified buildings also aim to be eco-friendly. Materials used in the brewery, winery and food processing facility include wood reclaimed from 1920s aqueducts and recycled steel, insulation and tile. Fly ash and slag, industry byproducts, replaced half of the cement materials. Gallagher Hall includes 30 percent recycled content for the entire building, including steel, carpet, access floor and suspended ceiling tile — as well as wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.  

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