LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles Harbor College’s new Science Complex recently received LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certification for sustainable design awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Putting science on display, the building serves as a living laboratory in which students can track its energy production and usage.
The three-story, 73,767-square-foot complex houses the physical science and life science departments, and opened in fall 2013. Apart from earning high LEED marks, the facility also integrates a number of sustainable strategies helping it achieve net-zero energy use as well. These strategies include the use of building-integrated photovoltaic panels (BIPV) connected to the campus PV systems, occupancy-sensor lighting, natural ventilation, abundant daylight, integrated building systems that respond to weather conditions, an energy-recovery system that converts exhaust air into energy, and exterior corridors and outdoors classrooms that reduce energy loads, according to a statement by designer HGA Architects and Engineers (HGA) of Los Angeles.
“The building is designed to be net-zero energy, and its renewable energy plan was accepted as part of the LEED Platinum certification,” said Patrick Thibaudeau, LEED fellow and vice president of sustainability at HGA, in a statement. “For a high-energy building such as a science laboratory, this is a major accomplishment.”
Some of the building’s key performance metrics, according to HGA, include:
• 55 percent lower energy costs compared to baseline
• 31 percent of energy provided by BIPV (remainder from central campus system)
• 600,000 +/- pounds of CO2 avoided from energy conservation
• 2,000,000 +/- pounds CO2 offset by net-zero energy
• 64 percent less irrigation water use
• Zero potable water used for irrigation
• 54 percent less overall building water use
• 98.4 percent construction waste diversion
• 42 percent recycled content materials (LEED minimum 10%)
• 28 percent local materials (LEED minimum 10%)
• 69 percent Forest Stewardship Council certified wood (LEED minimum 50%)
• $103,000 potential annual energy cost savings.
HGA currently is conducting a 12-month energy verification audit and is planning a post-occupancy evaluation survey to measure occupant satisfaction and usage, according to a statement by the firm.
“College campuses are incubators for research, innovation and new technology that feed into the educational process,” said James Matson, AIA, principal at HGA. “Design-forward projects such as Los Angeles Harbor College Science Complex allow colleges to shape the future of learning by transforming classrooms into laboratories on sustainable design and energy usage. Through our integrated architecture, engineering and planning strategies, HGA partners with clients to research and implement new approaches to sustainable design, net zero energy, and resilient design. The Science Complex is a model for holistic approaches to sustainability, which will continue to inspire our ongoing work nationally.”