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Third Building Awarded LEED "Gold" Certification for Environmental Excellence

March 26, 2008

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)