In Good, Green Company: UC Merced Joins USGBC Portfolio Program Pilot

MERCED - What does UC Merced have in common with Starbucks, Toyota, Subway and Bank of America?

They're all participants in the US Green Building Council's Portfolio Pilot Program, which provides cost-effective "portfolio" solutions to help improve environmental performance in construction and operations. Ultimately, it will streamline the accreditation process for UC Merced in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program sponsored by the USGBC. Other universities like UC Santa Barbara and Emory University are also participating.

UC Merced's participation was announced at the annual Green Build conference in Denver.

"UC Merced buildings have some unique, environment-friendly features," said campus LEED coordinator Mark Maxwell. "Sometimes they're so innovative that others aren't sure how to measure their effectiveness. Our participation in the Portfolio Program Pilot places us among the most environmentally progressive organizations in the country. That will help us set those very features up as examples for others to follow."

UC Merced buildings feature sun-shading, centrally-controlled heating and air conditioning, and the campus has a 2-million-gallon chilled-water storage tank cooling water during off hours when energy demands and prices are lower.

That tank is part of UC Merced' Central Plant, which will be the first building to become LEED certified. Maxwell said he expects the certification to come through around the beginning of 2007. Participation in the pilot program will increase UC Merced's national visibility with the USGBC and will help expedite this and future LEED certifications.

Founding Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey set forth the vision that all UC Merced buildings should be at least LEED Silver certified. The campus continues its commitment to that goal through its participation in the Portfolio Pilot Program.

The Portfolio Pilot Program aims to integrate green building and operations as standard business practices for its members. It provides tools to track the performance of all facilities within an organization - in other words, that organizations portfolio of facilities. Participating organizations can also use volume registration and obtain certification discounts for all LEED rating systems for the buildings and projects they have committed to the program.

Maxwell said he particularly hopes the program will help UC Merced make a smooth transition from LEED building practices for new construction (LEED-NC) into LEED operations for existing buildings (LEED-EB).





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