CLU building is LEED Silver certified

Swenson Center has many green features

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The $8.5 million building opened one year ago.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. - Aug. 15, 2011) California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks has received LEED Silver certification for its first sustainable building, the Swenson Center for the Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, the Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) designation is based on a number of green design and construction features that save energy and water and minimize landfill waste from the project.

The $8.5 million building, which opened one year ago, has many features that reduce energy consumption and operating costs. It is situated to minimize the hotter east and west exposure to the sun and maximize the cooler 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 the 43 faculty offices, nine classrooms and other rooms when windows or doors are left open.

Windows in the 33,000-square-foot building 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. Landscaping features include bioswales for stormwater treatment and native, drought-tolerant, low-water-use plants with high-efficiency irrigation.

Materials with 18 percent recycled content were used in construction. Ninety-seven percent of the waste generated during construction was diverted from the landfill to recycling.

LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. By using less energy and water, LEED-certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of water consumption. Construction contributes 15 percent of gross domestic product, so green buildings can have a significant economic as well as environmental impact, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

The Swenson Center, named in honor of donors Jim and Sue Swenson of Dana Point, Calif., houses the departments of psychology, sociology, criminal justice, political science, communication, languages and cultures, and public policy and administration as well as some faculty offices for the School of Management. In addition to the offices and "smart" classrooms, it features two computer labs, a psychology lab, a conference room and a faculty/staff lounge.