The CSUSM University Student Union (USU) is being built to LEED Gold certification standards based on LEED Green Building Design and Construction 2009 New Construction edition. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system that evaluates environmental performance to provide a definitive standard of a “green building”. By designing and building to LEED standards, the USU will gain a number of value-added incentives during construction and occupancy, such as reduced construction waste, increased recycled content, lower long-term operating costs, efficient water usage, and improved indoor air quality.
The design of the USU includes numerous elements recommended by the LEED Rating System, such as the tempering of intake air for the HVAC system (heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning), control of storm water runoff through bioswales and olive groves, and extensive use of natural light. Also, water use reduction is achieved through low flush and flow, dual flush fixtures.
Some highlights of the sustainability effort are located on the roof of the USU. A 3,000sf green roof will be incorporated into the outdoor dining space above the ballroom. The green roof consists of native vegetation that will naturally cool the ballroom space. The roof on the wings of the USU will incorporate a 100 Kw photovoltaic renewable energy system built on the conventional roof with SRI compliant roofing material.