San Diego State University’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union has achieved LEED Double Platinum status, joining an elite group of energy-efficient buildings. The recognition is shared by fewer than two dozen facilities around the world. The newly earned LEED Platinum certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance comes just two years after the student union earned LEED Platinum status for new construction.

Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at ACUI

Designed by CannonDesign in partnership with the student body and university leaders, the union focuses on environmentally responsible design solutions. “Our design team examined how California Mission architecture had historically responded to the warm, dry climate of southern California,” said W. Kenneth Wiseman, MRAIC, AIA. “History revealed an array of elegant solutions that not only helped organize the building but also reduced heat gain and cooling loads and maximized opportunities for natural daylighting of interiors.”

San Diego State University wanted to replace its Aztec Student Union as early as 2000, but it was a full 10 years before students passed a referendum sufficient to fund the new building – and it was student enthusiasm for sustainable design that finally got the project funded.

“Because students wanted both to achieve a high level of sustainability and to be recognized for sustainability within a wider community, LEED Platinum certification was set as a target,” said Craig A. Hamilton, FAIA, LEED AP. “Receiving LEED Double Platinum is truly extraordinary, and a testament to what’s possible when students and university leaders work together to push a vision forward.”