James Von Essen
All new buildings on campus will potentially be required to uphold a “Silver” environmental quality standard to balance the desire for higher quality buildings with implementation costs.
The Sustainability Workgroup made the suggestion at its most recent meeting Thursday, noting that although buildings with higher ratings such as “Gold” and “Platinum” would have more sustainable features, they would likely make some buildings prohibitively expensive to build.
“If the funding is not available, you’re sacrificing good for perfect,” said Adam Green, environmental studies professor. “But we’re not saying this is where we stop.”
The environmental quality standards are the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, commonly referred to as LEED. LEED is the most widely used rating system in the world for rating the environmental quality of buildings. Levels are determined by how much infrastructure has been successfully implemented that fulfills certain categories such as water use efficiency, energy use efficiency and air quality.
Green advocated for having either LEED Silver or LEED Certified as the minimum standard for new buildings on campus. The Certified quality standard is one level lower than Silver.
“The UC campuses are usually LEED Silver or equivalent,” said Green. “Certified means that people actually check to make sure the building is working the way it is supposed to work.”
He added that some building floors are needing to be redone because the infrastructure was not properly checked before it was signed off on as completed.
Perrin Pellegrin, a sustainability consultant from Innovative Workshop Consulting, agreed with Green’s assessment.
“With California’s aggressive energy goals and environmental goals. . . I would say LEED Silver is a slam dunk and it would be achievable without that much more money,” Pellegrin said.
The newest building on campus, the West Campus Center, was also mentioned to have achieved LEED Platinum, the highest rating LEED offers.
“We started working on the project early on, which is probably why it was so successful,” Pellegrin said. The West Campus Center is City College’s first project to be certified by LEED on campus.