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UCSB’s Bren Hall Earns ‘Double Platinum’ Rating for Sustainability

The building is the first in the nation to receive two LEED Platinum certifications

Bren Hall, which houses the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at UCSB, has become the nation’s first building to earn two LEED Platinum certifications, the highest sustainability rating possible, from the U.S. Green Building Council.

On Aug. 4, Bren Hall received a Platinum certification for Existing Buildings — Operations & Maintenance. The certification comes seven years after Bren Hall opened in 2002 as the greenest laboratory facility in the nation, and the first to be certified Platinum for New Construction by the USGBC’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System. The LEED program has since become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of the world’s most energy-efficient and high-performing buildings.

“This is tremendous news,” Bren School Acting Dean John Melack said. “It was a major achievement to construct Bren Hall as the first LEED Platinum laboratory building in the nation, but in some ways that was easier than earning recertification at the Platinum level. As a new building, much of the work is left to the architects and the contractors, but as an existing building, it is up to us, the occupants, to work with staff and university personnel to maintain and operate the building to the highest standards.

“This new certification, the result of a months-long process that involved more than a dozen people, demonstrates that we have succeeded in that collaborative endeavor.”

UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang said: “I am so proud of our Bren School and the many people at this university who make such an achievement possible. I am excited by this recognition, which raises the bar on our already ambitious campus-wide sustainability efforts.”

The latest LEED certification for Bren Hall was based on how the building fared during a three-month “performance period,” when all of the relevant documentation was generated, said Jordan Sager, LEED program manager at UCSB’s Physical Facilities, and a Bren alumnus. At one point in the process, he said, an energy model was run, which showed that Bren Hall’s energy use is one-third to one-half that of similar buildings of similar function.

No major retrofitting to Bren Hall was undertaken to obtain the Platinum certification, Sager noted, adding that most of the work was “no cost or low cost.” The biggest changes were an upgrade of the already energy-efficient laboratory fume hoods and the purchase of 2 million megawatt hours of renewable wind and solar energy credits.


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