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John T. Chambers Technology Center is Certified LEED Gold

Oct 1, 2011

University of the Pacific's John T. Chambers Technology Center was granted a LEED Gold certificate this week, the second highest level issued for sustainable buildings. This is the first building at University of the Pacific and only the fifth project in San Joaquin County to receive a gold rating. Only 10 projects in the county have received LEED certification.

Technology

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Certificate levels are no-color, silver, gold and platinum.

"With the rapid adaptation of sustainable practices in engineering, this entire building is a hands-on example for our engineering students of what the future holds for them," said Ravi Jain, Dean of the School of Engineering and Computer Science. "Our students no longer have to just read about these new standards in a book but can literally see them in real-life."

The LEED system is designed to promote a "whole-building approach to sustainability" through five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED-certified projects usually cost less to operate and maintain than conventional buildings largely because they are energy- and water- efficient. On average, they save 30 percent on energy and up to 50 percent on drinkable water compared to conventional buildings.

The Chambers Technology Center is a 24,500 square-foot two-story building with labs and offices for the School of Engineering and Computer Sciences. The building exceeds numerous LEED standards. It features 100 percent non-potable water in surrounding irrigation, bicycle racks to encourage people to ride bicycles to work, low-flow water fixtures, native plants in the surrounding landscaping, reflective glass to reduce the need for cooling in the building, and low-reflective materials on the roof and surrounding sidewalks to also reduce heat. The building uses 53 percent less drinking water than other buildings because of some of these features.

The building is also Pacific's first structure to have solar panels. The panels generate about four percent of the building's power.

Pacific has a LEED building and renovation policy which requires all new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings to meet the LEED Silver level of certification. Pacific has built two LEED-certified buildings in the past three years - the Don and Karen DeRosa University Center and the John T. Chambers Technology Center. A third building that meets LEED standards will be completed this summer - the Vereschagin Alumni House. A fourth LEED building, a new residential hall, is expected to begin construction next year. Pacific is also in a purchase agreement for a new building for its dental school in San Francisco, which would be renovated to meet LEED standards.

LEED features of the John T. Chambers Technology Center include:

  • 100 percent use of non-potable water for irrigation
  • 53.3 percent reduction in the use of potable or "drinking" water
  • Use of native and low-water demanding plants in landscaping
  • Radiant barrier roofing to reduce heating/cooling costs
  • Non-reflective walkways to reduce heating/cooling costs
  • Low-E windows to reduce heating/cooling costs
  • Bicycle racks
  • One preferred low-emissions/fuel efficient vehicle parking space
  • Solar panels on roof that generate 4.11 percent of the building's electricity
  • Shared mechanical system with three buildings, thus reducing energy usage for all three
  • Dedicated areas for collection and storage of recyclables

Many of the irrigation and landscaping features can be found throughout Pacific's Stockton campus and have been implemented during the past few years. Because of that, this building along with others can count those features as part of the building and earn points toward LEED certification.

The other LEED certified projects in San Joaquin County are:

  • Blue Shield of California, Lodi - no color
  • Crate & Barrel, Tracy - gold
  • California Department of Motor Vehicles, Tracy - gold
  • Home Depot, Tracy - no color
  • Pacific Gas and Electric Customer Service Office, Stockton - silver
  • San Joaquin County Administration Building, Stockton - gold
  • Sears Distribution Center, Stockton - silver
  • Pacific's Don and Karen DeRosa University Center, Stockton - silver
  • Villa Monterey Affordable Housing, Stockton - mix of gold and silver units.