UC Santa Barbara Lab Still One of Nation’s Greenest

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — The U.S. Green Building Council recognized 15 LEED-certified projects in celebration of its 15 years as an organization earlier this year. The projects were chosen based on versatility, value and staying power.

One project that was recognized, the Donal Bren School of Environmental Science & Management’s laboratory building at the University of California (UC) Santa Barbara, was the first project to receive LEED Platinum certification as both a new and existing building. The project was completed in 2002, making it the greenest laboratory in the country and the first in the UC system to receive LEED certification. Today, it remains one of the greenest and highest performing buildings constructed in the last 15 years.

The building features three floors of teaching and research laboratories as well as four floors of offices. While the new facility was innovative in its approach to interdisciplinary study, with several spaces for interaction and exchanges between faculty, students and visitors, it also was built to achieve maximum energy efficiency in an energy-heavy laboratory setting.

Wausau Window and Wall Systems’ products helped the building achieve a high level of energy efficiency. The building features a daylight-harvesting 2250 window system that helps cool the office wing facing the ocean. Wausau’s operable windows and transoms help air flow throughout the space, eliminating the need for air conditioning in the office wing. The windows in the space also have a small sensor in the frame that automatically turns off heaters whenever the window units are open.

Energy-efficient lamps and ballasts, including motion and ambient light sensors, also help keep energy levels down. Plus, a rooftop solar photovoltaic system generates about 10 percent of the building’s power on site. The building uses up to 40 percent less electricity than a traditional structure and surpasses the Title 24 requirements for energy efficiency standards by more than 31 percent.

“It has become a living laboratory for new technologies,” said Development Engineer Sage Davis in a statement. “A key feature in the office wing is the ample natural lighting, natural ventilation and beautiful views, which make the offices a very pleasant place to work.”

The use of recycled, renewable and durable materials also helped the project meet its aggressive sustainable design and construction objectives. For instance, Linetec finished Wausau Systems’ recycled aluminum framing using a two-coat 70 percent polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) resin-based coating. Linetec created the coating by capturing the liquid paints’ volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to eliminate the exhaust of potential pollutants. Other low-VOC paints, adhesives and finishes were also used in the building.

This article was originally published in School Construction News.