LEED Gold For Santa Clara U. Student Center

Nary a college building goes up these days, it seems, without pursuing LEED certification, and Santa Clara University’s new Paul Locatelli Student Activity Center is no exception. This 16,284-square-foot building, built in 2010, recently celebrated its LEED Gold certification.

The new activity center makes use of energy-efficient features like trellises and overhangs to reduce direct solar gain on the south and west face of the building, while permeable pavers in the surrounding landscape help to control stormwater run off and erosion.

Santa Clara University, Locatelli, LEED Gold

image via Devcon Construction

Paints, surface coatings, and adhesives used in the center were chosen based on their low-emissions or non-emissions of volatile organic compounds, and all carpets are certified “Green Label” by the Carpet and Rug Institute. The center is also equipped with standard university recycling, waste, and composting bins, encouraging students to keep their waste out of the landfill.

But here’s what caught our eye in the university’s press release: “While the second floor has office spaces for student organizations, the lower floor is a 6,000-square-foot assembly hall, complete with disco ball suspended from the 20-foot ceiling.” An LED disco ball, we trust.

This building is the university’s latest effort to reach its goal of becoming climate neutral by the end of 2015, as promised by SCU President Michael Engh, S.J. Other green initiatives in support of that goal include the installation of solar panels, a solar thermal collector, a smart microgrid and a wind turbine – all of which led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to recognize the university with a 2011 Green Power Leadership Award.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.