It’s a simple pleasure: the ability to open a conference-room window and let in the afternoon breeze. But operable windows are also a good energy strategy and just one of the many green features and amenities that earned UC Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute its second LEED Platinum certification in a month from the U.S. Green Building Council. A platinum designation is the agency’s highest honor; the campus has received eight LEED Gold certifications.

“This is a great day for UC Irvine’s sustainability program,” said Richard Demerjian, director of environmental planning & sustainability. “Gross Hall is one of the most energy-efficient lab buildings in the U.S.”

Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design ratings are determined on a point basis in the following categories: site sustainability, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation & design process.

Gross Hall scored points for such features as dimmable and occupancy-controlled lighting, use of energy-saving building materials, and mechanical systems that are 50 percent more efficient than required by California’s Title 24 energy code. The operable windows are tied into the heating and air-conditioning controls so that when a window is opened, mechanical ventilation of that room shuts off.

An $80 million, 100,000-square-foot structure, Gross Hall was designed to facilitate contact between patients in the first-floor clinic and rehabilitation center and stem cell researchers on the first, second and third floors. Labs are equipped with Aircuity technology that monitors indoor air quality and adjusts air-change rates based on contaminant levels.

“This LEED Platinum certification recognizes Gross Hall’s extraordinary energy efficiency, plus its many other green building features,” Demerjian said, “further establishing UC Irvine as a national leader in campus sustainability.”

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