UCI News

Humanities Gateway goes platinum

Green Building Council reserved the rating for construction that attains the highest level of sustainability and energy conservation.

by Cathy Lawhon, University Communications | November 28, 2011
Humanities Gateway goes platinum
Beneath the dramatic exterior design of UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway are the sustainable fundamentals such as low energy use and high-efficiency elevators that earned it a LEED Platinum ranking from the Green Building Council. Hoang X. Pham / University Communications

Sustainable construction features and green amenities included in UC Irvine’s Humanities Gateway building earned a LEED Platinum rating this month from the U.S. Green Building Council. A platinum designation is the council’s highest honor, and it is UCI’s first. The campus has received eight LEED Gold designations.

“This designation demonstrates UCI’s commitment not only to mitigating the campus’s impact on the environment, but to holding down costs as well,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for administrative and business services.  “At UCI, we are proud of our leadership role in building energy-efficient facilities that save both natural resources and money.”

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design classifications are awarded on a point system in the following categories: site sustainability, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation & design process. Humanities Gateway earned all 57 points (out of a possible 69 points) for which it applied. Such features as ultra-low energy use, high-efficiency elevators, waste recycling and a California Cool Roof ¬– a system of reflective coatings that minimize heat reflected into the atmosphere – garnered points. Outdoor views from 90 percent of the occupied space also added to the point tally.

“Achieving LEED Platinum was truly a team effort led by campus design and construction services and the Hensel Phelps Construction project team,” said Richard Demerjian, director of environmental planning and sustainability. “We are thrilled with this distinction and look forward to more in the future.”

Humanities Gateway, with 71,300 gross square feet, is home to multidisciplinary centers – including the International Center for Writing and Translation, the UC Humanities Research Institute, the Samuel Jordan Center for Persian Studies and Culture, and the Humanities Center – and the departments of art history, Asian American studies, film & media studies, women’s studies, and the program in African American studies. Humanities Dean Vicki Ruiz’s offices are found there, too.

“Not only striking on the outside, the industrial elegance of the interior makes an iconic statement as well as an incredibly comfortable work environment,” she said. “I thank facilities director Colin Andrews and former assistant dean Katherine Haines for their leadership in bringing Humanities Gateway to fruition.”