The University of California, Merced Downtown Center is a 68,000 square foot, 3 story administrative building located in downtown Merced, California. This is an off campus building pursuing US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification. Though this building is not located on campus, it is going to be the most efficient building built by UC Merced. As an all electrified building, using no natural gas, this building will achieve a 29% energy savings better than 2013 Title 24 code.
The heating and cooling for this building will be provided by a hydronic radiant slab that has pex tubing built into it. An electric air-source heat pump will provide the heating and cooling throughout this system. This combined system, without using gas for heat, has proven to be more energy efficient than a split system using gas and electric and provides an opportunity to have a net zero energy building, through the addition of solar. This mechanical HVAC system has never previously been designed into any campus building. LED lighting will be provided throughout the interior and exterior of the building with automatic lighting controls for interior and exterior spaces. Areas with windows and skylights shall be provided with a daylight dimming system utilizing continuous dimming. This will be the first UC Merced building with all LED lighting. Occupancy sensors will be provided throughout that will shut off lighting in unoccupied areas. The main electrical service shall be provided with an energy meter, as well as each downstream panelboard and large piece of equipment fed directly from the main switchboard, so that energy can be monitored to verify energy usage of the various buildings systems and identify problem areas along with equipment to target for further energy reduction. An energy monitoring dashboard will be provided to allow the owner and building occupants to view the energy usage of the building. An exterior shade canopy will be installed on the west and south façade, reducing the solar gain (irradiance) by up to 90%
Generous façade glass with precise exterior solar shading and two large clearstory windows at the roof level provide daylighting down to the first floor, because of openings at each floor below the clearstory windows. This will provide enough natural daylighting balanced from the core to perimeter zones that leave the majority of the floor areas with the potential to operate without electric lighting during the day.
There is a natural ventilation strategy, which can be implemented at a later date, where the windows open at night to allow fresh cool air to move throughout the interior of the building.
A deep overhang and shading scrim consisting of angled metal louvers to both shade the façade and reflect light in. This scrim reduced the heat gain on the building, an essential component of the overall cooling strategy.
The contractor is pursuing zero waste diversion for all construction waste, with a waste management plan that outlines a 95% or better waste diversion. The project is currently tracking at 99% waste diversion. Concrete waste from the building goes to a local facility and is ground up and used for road base, wood is chipped up locally and made into bark mulch, metals are sent off to be melted down for other metal products.
Buildings materials used to construct the buildings currently have 20% recycled content in the aggregate. The building is pursuing 40% recycled content when it is complete. The Shaw tile carpeting that will be installed in this building has 42% post-consumer recycled content. Shaw has established a take back program where they reclaim and recycle approximately 100 million pounds of carpet a year, converting the materials they reclaim back into carpet, into products for other industries, or energy to power their manufacturing operations. Johnsonite wall base has 14% pre-consumer recycled content from wall base scraps left over at their factory. Sarnafil Roofing that will be installed on the building, has a recycling program which takes old PVC membranes and any new material left over from a jobsite and recycles it back into new roofing and waterproofing membrane. Wood products for the building will be Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. FSC is an international non-profit, multi-stakeholder organization established in 1993 to promote responsible management of the world’s forests. The FSC does this by setting standards on forest products, along with certifying and labeling them as eco-friendly. All paints, adhesives and sealants in the building will have no or little volatile organic compounds (VOC). Linoleum is used in many spaces, in lieu of vinyl flooring. Linoleum is a natural product, consisting of jute fiber, cork and linseed oil.
This building will be the 18th building certified under LEED New Construction for the campus and the first LEED certified building outside the campus in Merced.