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SBCC showcases its newest sustainable classroom building

The+new+West+Campus+Classroom+Building+at+Santa+Barbara+City+College%2C+on+January+31.+With+construction+complete+the+West+Campus+has+a+drop+off+and+pick+up+area+that+reopened+since+construction+completed.
The new West Campus Classroom Building at Santa Barbara City College, on January 31. With construction complete the West Campus has a drop off and pick up area that reopened since construction completed.

The new West Campus Classroom Building at Santa Barbara City College, on January 31. With construction complete the West Campus has a drop off and pick up area that reopened since construction completed.

James Von Essen

James Von Essen

The new West Campus Classroom Building at Santa Barbara City College, on January 31. With construction complete the West Campus has a drop off and pick up area that reopened since construction completed.

Delaney Smith, Features Editor

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From a rooftop garden and big windows to toilets that use reclaimed water, the new West Campus Classroom Building is now the most environmentally friendly building on campus.

“We’re really excited about it,” said Lyndsay Maas, vice president of business services. “City College has made a stronger commitment to sustainability in recent years, and the design of the new building is focused around exactly that.”

The building, under construction since December 2015, was built with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards in mind, commonly referred to as LEED. This is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. The building is currently under review to obtain the official environmental certification.

The new building reduces indoor drinkable water usage by 33 percent with the high-efficiency plumbing installed, ultimately saving 83,420 gallons a year. The toilets use only reclaimed water for flushing, unlike in other buildings on campus that use drinkable water in the toilets.

Maas said the building also reduces heat island effects. Heat islands are densely populated areas or cities that are hotter than the natural temperature in the rural areas around it. The light-colored concrete and the rooftop garden keep the building cooler, requiring less energy for heating and cooling inside the building.

The rooftop garden, which contains California native plants, also functions as a habitat for animals. In addition, the roof is expected to improve air quality and the collection and repurposing of rainwater.

Rubin Gonsalves, in burgundy, and Eduardo Fabian, wearing black, study in the new West Campus Classrooms Building at Santa Barbara City College, on January 31. The new building offers an open study space for students to enjoy the views throughout the day.

James Von Essen
Rubin Gonsalves, in burgundy, and Eduardo Fabian, wearing black, study in the new West Campus Classrooms Building at Santa Barbara City College, on January 31. The new building offers an open study space for students to enjoy the views throughout the day.

Other environmentally friendly features of the building include:

  • Electrical efficiency that surpasses the California Energy Code by more than 26 percent.
  • On-site solar panels that provide thirteen percent of its total energy usage.
  • At least 20 percent of building products and materials are from recycled content.
  • Large windows that allow natural daylight and less need for energy use. Ninety-two percent of rooms have access to views.

The main purpose for the new building is to replace nine of the portable classrooms located on both East and West Campus. Four of these classrooms, East Campus Classrooms 28, 29, 30 and 33, already have been removed and relocated to the new building.

Ignacio Ponce, a City College American Sign Language associate professor, has taught his classes in East Campus Classroom 33 until he was able to move into his new classroom and office in the new building.

“It has been a great experience teaching in the new American Sign Language classroom, which was actually designed with ASL pedagogy in mind,” Ponce said.

“It comes with a semi circular desk arrangement and two levels to allow students to have a better view of the instructor and at the same time be able to see most of the students in class.”

ASL is among several of the class types and academic programs to be relocated to the new building. Like the Interdisciplinary Building, or IDC, it doesn’t house one specific academic area. In addition to the seven ASL classes are 72 social sciences classes, 13 justice studies classes, nine film studies classes, and more.

Although the final cost of the West Campus Classroom Building is not yet calculated, it is estimated to be about $22 million, Maas said. She estimates that approximately $20 million came from the remaining funds left in the Measure V Bond, and $2 million came from a reserve construction fund within City College’s general fund.

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SBCC showcases its newest sustainable classroom building