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UC San Diego Student Apartments Scoop Up LEED Gold Certification

The Village@Torrey Pines East apartment development, which is home to 807 transfer students, is the sixth UC San Diego building project to be certified LEED Gold.

UC San Diego’s Village@Torrey Pines East apartment development, featuring solar-heated showers and “wind scoops” that pull in Pacific breezes, is celebrating its grand opening with news that it won LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Gold certification. The green-building award recognizes Village East’s water- and energy-efficient features in addition to many other sustainability features.

Village East, home to 807 transfer students, is the ninth UC San Diego building to achieve LEED certification and the sixth to be certified LEED Gold. Twenty additional UC San Diego projects are undergoing certification through a preliminary LEED registration process.

“It’s poetic justice that students who are learning about sustainability in classes, internships and research opportunities can also actually live it in these and other ultra-green campus apartments,” said Gary C. Matthews, vice chancellor of Resource Management and Planning. “The university’s commitment to going green also is an increasingly important factor in students’ decisions to enroll at UC San Diego.”

Village East apartment project includes The Bistro, a full-service restaurant that accepts reservations.

The affordably priced apartments on the north side of the main La Jolla campus come with broadband Internet and ocean views. Village East includes a convenience market and The Bistro, a full-service restaurant that accepts reservations. The apartments are a short stroll from world-class surfing at Black’s Beach and an array of on- and off-campus entertainment and recreational opportunities. 

The 267,000 gross-square-foot Village East development is adjacent to the 1,060-bed, 343,000 gross-square-foot first phase called the Village@Torrey Pines West. The pair of developments, Village East and West, has transformed the north entrance of campus into a trendy green version of San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood.

“The LEED Gold certification is a nice postscript for an apartment development that, with other new student-life projects, has helped to transform the on-campus experience for our amazing students,” said Mark Cunningham, executive director of Housing, Dining and Hospitality at UC San Diego. “Village East and West and other new apartments have allowed us to expand our unique three-year housing guarantee to all incoming freshman students.”

Each of the 146 five- and six-bed room apartments will have a living-dining-kitchen area, shared bathrooms with low-flow fixtures and a storage area. The project includes vending, laundry, mail areas and administrative offices. Windows will maximize the use of ambient outdoor light and the outside lights used after dark are low-energy LEDs. Occupancy sensors within apartments shut off lights and appliances when rooms are unoccupied.

Non-potable “recycled” water nourishes native outdoor plants through an efficient drip-irrigation system. The apartments’ plaster, paving, carpet and metal wall studs are made from recycled material, and Village East residents are bathing with water that is heated directly by sunlight thanks to a solar-thermal water heating system.

No State of California money was used to build Village II: external financing was provided by UC-issued bonds that are being repaid by student-housing fees.

The Village East project was built without the addition of any parking spaces. That approach is consistent with the university’s Long Range Development Plan, which emphasizes a gradual reduction of single-occupancy vehicles arriving to campus through alternative transportation programs and projects.

Cunningham said that with more than 12,000 undergraduate and graduate students now living on campus, fewer students drive every day on neighborhood streets and roads. Cunningham’s department added roughly 1,000 new bicycle parking spots over the past year and also added hundreds of in-room wall and ceiling storage hooks for bikes.

In 2011, ridership of shuttles and Metropolitan Transit Authority buses rose 703 riders per day to 11,918 as more students living on campus rely on buses to travel to area shopping malls, movie theaters and other attractions.

Less dependence by students on daily use of cars is evident in UC San Diego’s alternative transportation statistics and surveys:

  • Campus memberships in Zipcar, a vehicle-sharing service permits students to reserve a vehicle that can be leased by the hour or day. UC San Diego Zipcar members jumped from 1,385 last year to 1,683 in 2011.
  • An annual traffic survey found that the number of single-occupancy vehicles entering the campus is 22,492 vehicles per day in 2011, which is down by 795 vehicles from the previous year.
  • The survey also found that the number of people riding to or from campus via shuttles or Metropolitan Transit Authority buses was 11,918 per day, an increase of 703 riders from 2010. Part of that increase is attributed to more students living on campus relying on buses to travel to area shopping malls, movie theaters and other attractions.

Bicycles and skateboards have become a symbol of green transportation for students.

To encourage students living on campus to use bikes, bicycle storage is provided in Village East rooms. About 1,000 bike racks have been added to the campus and frequent shuttle stops are close to Village East’s doors.

Greater integration of mass transit options is only one of many sustainable features that led to Village East’s LEED Gold certification.

Clark Design/Build of California used recycled and regionally produced building materials and practices in the construction. Main structural-support walls were moved from the exterior of the building to the interior, which promotes the natural flow of ventilating air.

Solar collectors mounted on the Village East’s roofs and canopies above exterior walkways, absorb solar energy, transferring it to a non-potable fluid that flows down to tanks where heat exchangers warm the separate potable water system. Residents draw the solar-heated water for showers and baths with the turn of a faucet.

“UC San Diego now has one of the largest solar water heating installations at a North American university,” said Ed Murray, president and CEO of Aztec Solar. “The panels have been combined with the architectural flow of the building in a way that uses ‘informative aesthetics’ to educate students about solar technology while they also appreciate its artistic possibilities.”

The campus goal is to house 50 percent of all students, and to meet that goal it has added more apartment beds in the past nine years than during the previous 41 years. With the openingVillage East and West and the recently completed Revelle College Apartments and Muir College Apartments, the university now houses on campus 52 percent of all graduate students and about 40 percent of undergraduates.

UC San Diego’s LEED certified projects, and others undergoing certification through a preliminary registration process

UC San Diego Project

LEED Registration

LEED Certification

Category

Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center

Yes

Gold

New Construction

Rita Atkinson Graduate Housing

Yes

Gold

New Construction

Scripps Seaside Forum

Yes

Certified

New Construction

Campus Services Complex

Yes

Silver

Existing Buildings

Mesa Childcare Center

Yes

Gold

Commercial Interiors

Sustainability Resource Center

Yes

Gold

Commercial Interiors

Goody’s Place & Market

Yes

Silver

Commercial Interiors

Stewart Commons

Yes

Gold

Commercial Interiors

Village@Torrey Pines East (North Campus Housing, Phase 2)

Yes

Gold

New Construction

Revelle College Housing

Yes

 

New Construction

Housing & Dining Services Administration Building

Yes

 

New Construction

Telemedicine & PRIME-Heq

Yes

 

New Construction

Rady School of Management Phase 2

Yes

 

New Construction

Structural & Materials Engineering

Yes

 

New Construction

Muir College Housing & Dining

Yes

 

New Construction

Health Sciences Biomedical Research Facility 2

Yes

 

New Construction

Central Research Facility

Yes

 

New Construction

Scripps Marine Ecosystem Sensing, Observation and Modeling Laboratory

Yes

 

New Construction

East Campus Office Building

Yes

 

New Construction

East Campus Parking Structure

Yes

 

New Construction

Torrey Pines Center North

Yes

 

Existing Building

Clinical & Translational Research Institute

Yes

 

New Construction

Scripps Research Support Facilities

Yes

 

New Construction

Jacobs Medical Center

Yes

 

New Construction

San Diego Supercomputer East Expansion

Yes

 

Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance

Price Center

Yes

 

Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance

Sverdrup Hall

 

Yes

 

Existing Buildings

The Zone (Price Center)

Yes

 

Commercial Interiors

Student Health Services

Yes

 

Commercial Interiors