Third Building Awarded LEED "Gold" Certification for Environmental Excellence

MERCED, CA - The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded LEED "Gold" certification, signifying excellence in environmentally responsible design, construction and operation, to the Classroom and Office Building at the University of California, Merced, the university said today (March 26).

The building is the third at the newest UC campus to earn USGBC's LEED "Gold" certification. The Central Plant complex and the Leo & Dottie Kolligian Library earned the same distinction within the last year.

The USGBC is an independent, nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable building practices under its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED™) program. It rates buildings for environmental performance on a five-tier scale, awarding points for meeting or exceeding standards on 69 different measures. "Gold" is the second-highest level of achievement.

UC Merced is the only university in the country to establish LEED "Silver" (one level lower than "Gold") as its baseline for all buildings on campus. Of the four buildings USGBC has rated to date, three have exceeded this goal and the fourth, the Valley Terraces and Yablokoff-Wallace Dining Commons, has met it.

"Sustainable building practices are rapidly gaining favor around the world for many important reasons," said Thomas Lollini, UC Merced associate vice chancellor for physical planning, design and construction. "They're good for the environment, good for the people who use the buildings, and good for future generations, who will appreciate our wise use of natural resources and energy. They're also cost-effective, contrary to popular perception.

"We are thrilled to be recognized as an international leader in making sustainability the new standard for development," Lollini said. "Our campus is becoming a living laboratory of innovative and responsible practices, which can be replicated by others. We hope others in the region, the state and the world will benefit from what we are learning here."

The Classroom and Office Building is one of the primary buildings on campus, heavily used by students, faculty and administrators for a wide range of daily activities. It was awarded credits by the USGBC in all six of its measured performance categories, including sustainable site development, water and energy efficiency, use of local and recycled materials, indoor environmental quality and innovation in the design process.

"Meeting USGBC's demanding standards requires a full and deliberate commitment in all phases of development," said Mark Maxwell, LEED coordinator for the campus. "The LEED ratings system assigns points for meeting or exceeding performance standards on a wide range of sustainability measures. Designers, suppliers, contractors and others in the process deserve a lot of credit for their efforts to innovate and work with us on better ways to make our buildings functional, attractive and environmentally friendly. We are learning how to do this more efficiently and cost-effectively with each new building."

The LEED ratings system assigns points for meeting or exceeding performance standards on a wide range of sustainability measures. Ratings are based on the total number of points awarded, as follows: 0-25 points, not rated; 26-32 points, base certified; 33-38 points, Silver certified; 39-51 points, Gold certified; 52 or more points, Platinum certified.

To learn more about UC Merced's Environmental Stewardship Program, visit

For more information about previous LEED awards for UC Merced buildings:

Library Complex Awarded "Gold" LEED Certification (Jan. 18, 2008)

Central Plant Earns "Gold" LEED Award (March 13, 2007)


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