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ECEC Now LEED Certified Gold

November 7, 2012

Sustainability efforts at UC Merced continue moving forward with the announcement of the Early Childhood Education Center building’s LEED certification.

The building earned a gold certification.

“This is a particularly noteworthy example of how the campus continues to challenge the local building industry to build sustainably," said Mark Maxwell, the campus’s assistant director of construction and sustainability.

The facility was designed and built using modular construction to control costs and accelerate delivery time while maintaining high sustainability standards. The campus worked creatively to modify standard systems, such as the heating and cooling system, employ materials with recycled content, and add an arcade along the south facade to shade the building from the sun and reduce cooling loads. 

This is the first modular facility of its type in the Central Valley to achieve this level of LEED certification.

All of the buildings that have been constructed on the UC Merced campus are designed to meet or exceed sustainability standards.

The ECEC building earned 42 points from the US Green Building Council for such features as a high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning system; efficient use of daylight to save on artificial lighting; high-efficiency lighting; recycled building materials; and construction waste diversion from landfills.

Buildings must earn between 33 and 38 points to be certified LEED silver; 39 to 51 points for a gold certification; and 52 points or more for platinum status.

The building saves 31.6 percent more energy than the state’s Title 24 code requirements and 36.2 percent more water. Additionally, 33 percent of the building’s outfitting, like ceiling tiles and carpet, is made from recycled material, and 78 percent of its construction waste was steered away from landfills and toward reuse in other forms.

Those who operate the facility also keep sustainability as a watchword, buying furnishings made from sustainable maple and play structures made from recycled plastic milk jugs.

"We try to be very thoughtful as to our materials throughout each classroom," said Danielle Waite, ECEC director.

This makes nine building projects on campus to have earned LEED certification. The four other building projects already completed are in the process of certification, and Maxwell said he is applying for platinum status for each of them, as well as for all campus construction from here out.

Maxwell has been with UC Merced since the campus’s groundbreaking 10 years ago, and said he is still excited about all of the sustainability efforts across the university.

“I’m extremely proud of this certification, and happy to be part of the campus’s sustainability programs,” Maxwell said. “Everyone is looking at sustainability in everything they do.”