CLU dedicates first sustainable building

Swenson Center replaces 'chicken coop' offices

October 4, 2010



The $8.5 million building was designed to meet the sustainability criteria in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, with the target of certification at the silver level.

Photo: Brian Stethem

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Oct. 4, 2010) California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks will dedicate its first sustainable building, the Swenson Center for the Social and Behavioral Sciences, at 4:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 22.

The $8.5 million building was designed to meet the sustainability criteria in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program, with the target of certification at the silver level.

The center incorporates a number of energy-saving features designed to reduce operating costs. The building is situated to minimize the hotter east and west exposures and maximize north-south faces. A system of motorized windows and exhaust fans conditions the air in the lobbies and second floor hallway by pulling cool nighttime air in and drawing hot air out. Sensors turn the air conditioning or heating off in offices and classrooms when windows or doors are left open.

Windows were designed to allow natural light to provide illumination in 90 percent of spaces. Lights automatically turn off when adequate natural light is available or spaces aren't in use. Restrooms have highly water-efficient fixtures. The landscaping features bioswales for storm water treatment and native, drought-tolerant, low-water-use plants with high-efficiency irrigation. Materials with 18 percent recycled content were used in construction, and 22 percent of the materials came from within 500 miles of campus. Ninety-seven percent of the waste generated during construction was diverted from the landfill to recycling.

The 33,000-square-foot Swenson Center has 43 faculty offices, which are replacing chicken coops that were converted into offices and classrooms when the university opened on a former ranch in 1961. Professors in psychology, sociology, criminal justice, political science, communication, languages and cultures, and public policy and administration have moved out of the chicken coop buildings into the Swenson Center. The building also features nine "smart" classrooms, two computer labs, a psychology lab, a conference room and a faculty/staff lounge. The building provides much-needed academic space at a time when the university is at record enrollment levels.

The building is named in honor of donors Jim and Sue Swenson of Dana Point. Others who contributed toward the building and a $2 million program endowment are Marv and Fran Soiland of Santa Rosa, the Ullman Family Foundation, alumni Karen and Allan Spies of Denver, alumni Kirsten and Karsten Lundring of Thousand Oaks, Jack and Carol Gilbert of Oxnard and the estate of Eleanor and Paul Culver of Lake Sherwood.

CLU plans to demolish the three vacant chicken coop buildings in a couple of months to make way for a new science facility.

The dedication is open to the public. The building is located at 141 Faculty Street near Pioneer Avenue. For more information, call (805) 493-3100.

 







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