Faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara, have it good: not only are the homes in their new Ocean Walk faculty housing development just a few blocks from the beach, they’re also now LEED certified. Ocean Walk is the first housing project in the University of California system to receive LEED for Homes certification (though it will face some stiff competition from the net zero West Village project on the Davis campus for top green honors in this category).
The Ocean Walk development was created to provide affordable housing for faculty in the extremely expensive coastal California real estate market. Green features fall under four headings: sustainable construction, energy efficiency, water conservation and indoor environmental quality.
During construction, care was taken not to impact the natural environment surrounding the development (including erosion control), and construction wastes were diverted from the landfill through recycling. The windows, appliances and insulation used throughout the development were selected for energy efficiency and tested for performance after installation. Low-flow water features were used throughout the homes, and landscaping consists of drought-tolerant plants, all of which were selected to maximize water conservation. Low- or no-VOC carpets, adhesives and finishes were used throughout the homes, helping to ensure healthy indoor air quality.
UC Santa Barbara has 11 buildings that have received LEED certification, including its Marine Science Research Building (LEED Gold, Existing Building), Kohn Hall (LEED Silver, Existing Building) and Materials Research Laboratory (LEED, New Construction).