CSU Northridge Student Sustainability Center

The California State University system’s first completed Zero Net Energy-designed building, the LEED Platinum Sustainability Center houses CSUN’s Institute for Sustainability and the Associated Students Recycling Program. The project includes a 5,000-square-foot recycling yard and 3,000 square feet of support spaces, including private offices, open work spaces, and a seminar room. Funded primarily by CSUN’s Associated Students, the new Sustainability Center is a benchmark for higher education institutions on student-led sustainability initiatives, providing services and educational resources for recycling and sustainability to students as well as the larger community.
As the projects Director of Sustainable Design, Anthony created a clear path to integrate every facet of sustainability into the design and realization of the project, that also fit within the clients budget for a small scale building.
Rooftop solar costs are driven by system generation potential. Most projects start with the highest capacity systems as they generally do not have enough available roof area to offset the buildings needs.
When reviewing cost estimates during schematic design with the ownership team and general contractor, who were considering removing the roof from the outdoor recycling yard as a cost saving measure, Anthony guided the client with his expertise and highlighted that a building with more roof area than conditioned space could take advantage of a reduced power generating solar array at a significant savings to the project. His interjection demonstrated that retaining the recycling yard roof would actually result in a net savings to the clients budget.
The result was a building energy profile reduced from 54kBtu/sf/yr by 78% down to 12kBtu/sf/yr and offset by an energy and cost balanced right sized solar array that delivered a zero energy building for the client and their fundraising stakeholders.
Daylight autonomy was achieved through the increased window height on the north facing facade eliminating the need for artificial light in the building during daylight hours. After hours lighting was designed at a half-watt per square foot.
The integrated reduction of plug loads and equipment, efficient systems, and a decision to make spaces non-conditioned during portions of the year all contributed to the net positive energy goal. Alternative Energy Source Rooftop photovoltaic panels that extend over the open-air recycling yard allowing for a greater array footprint. Other Sustainable Measures Significant water reducing and reuse strategies such as the use of gray water for irrigation. Solar hot water is used to accommodate shower, lavatory, and pantry sinks.
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