California State University, Northridge Sustainability Center
Northridge, Calif.
Award of Merit

Owner: California State University, Northridge Associated Students
Lead Design Firm: Gensler
General Contractor: Gilbane Building Co.
HVAC: Xcel Mechanical Systems Inc.

The student-driven CSUN Sustainability Center not only houses California State University’s recycling and sustainability programs, but also serves as a model of sustainable building. The LEED Platinum structure is the university system’s first completed building designed for net-zero energy; it is also targeting Living Building Challenge certification. CSUN includes a 5,000-sq-ft covered courtyard that serves as the rooftop structure for a 25-kW photovoltaic system with 100 solar panels. The team determined that the number of solar panels that could be mounted on the roof would not generate enough power for all the building systems. So a two-tank solar water heating system was added, which also reduced energy costs. A graywater system connected to onsite showers and lavatories is used for irrigation.

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