Sustainably Tapping Earth’s Resources to Create a Net-Zero Academic Core
Climate change is real. It has never been more important to find alternative methods of energy production and material sourcing than now. Ohlone Community College has long been at the forefront of sustainability within the academic environment; its Newark campus was certified LEED Platinum in 2008, and a past President of the college was one of the 12 founding signatories to the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment.
For its $135 million academic core project at the Fremont Campus, our team worked in association with Anderson Brulé Architects as well as the college to develop a systems design that balanced high efficiency with ease of maintenance. The combined team recognized we needed to create a new central utility plant that co-locates the college’s water, electricity, gas and sewer utilities. It allows the campus to use recycled water to cool buildings, systems and water plants with wastewater.
To ensure we achieve a long-term goal of net-zero energy consumption, our design for the academic core harnesses an existing on-site solar farm and introduces a new geothermal ground loop system that will heat and cool the new buildings. Optimal building orientation, shading devices, daylight harvesting, high-performance building envelopes and the mild climate are among a few of the many factors supporting our net zero aspirations. The design team also identified materials that could be salvaged from the demolition and recycled or incorporated into the new buildings.
In 2019, these sustainability advancements we helped implement include:
- 8% energy use reduction from average (EUI = 36.2 kBtu/sf/yr)
- 50% reduced baseline water consumption due to ultra-low-flow plumbing fixtures and onsite reuse