The Last Jedi is a Messy Masterpiece
CSUSM’s new student union, built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification standards, opened to students during spring semester. The new four-story, 89,283-square-foot building is located near the center of campus, adjacent to Cesar Chavez Circle, with the fourth floor entrance opening onto Kellogg Plaza. The $43.9 million project was funded through student fees.
“To have a LEED Certified building is no easy feat as it requires the building to be designed, constructed and maintained to eliminate negative environmental impact through skillful and sensitive design,” said Linda Hawk, Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services. “While these are amazing accomplishments, we are not stopping here – we will continue to seek innovative and environmentally conscious ways to improve our practices. And the University Student Union stands as a monument of our capabilities and the value our campus community places on sustainability.”
The vision of the USU was simple. Create a building that meets the needs of the CSUSM community while leaving the smallest imprint on the environment. Green building highlights of the USU include:
- Use of environmentally friendly building materials.
- Tempering of intake air for the HVAC system (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning).
- Control of storm water runoff through bioswales and olive groves.
- Extensive use of natural light that reduces dependence on artificial lighting.
- Water use reduction through low flush and flow, dual flush fixtures.
- 3,000-square-foot green roof consisting of native vegetation that naturally cools the ballroom space below.
- A 100-Kw photovoltaic renewable energy system built on the conventional roof with SRI compliant roofing material.“I would like to congratulate CSUSM for their beautiful new University Student Union,” said Dawn Welch, director of commercial and industrial services for SDG&E. “They are truly leading the way when it comes to building sustainability in from the ground up. Our goal at SDG&E is to be our customer’s energy advisor. We have solutions for any business that wants to make changes that will translate into real energy savings. CSUSM has demonstrated this amazingly well with their latest addition, the USU.”
Sustainability is interwoven into the fabric of CSUSM’s campus culture. LEED Gold is the standard for all of CSUSM’s new buildings and the University also places an emphasis on green procurement practices, curbing waste and improving recycling, creating and implementing a sustainable water management plan and much more.
Later this year, CSUSM will be recognized at the 2014 California Higher Education Sustainability Conference’s Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Best Practice Awards competition for best practices in three categories: water efficiency and site water quality; innovative waste reduction; and sustainability in academics. CSUSM received recognition in more categories than any other California State University or University of California campus.
*contributed by California State University, San Marcos.