Irvine, Calif., July 18, 2013 – UC Irvine’s Verano Place graduate student housing complex won kudos from the U.S. Green Building Council this month, bringing the campus five new Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design Platinum awards.

In a detailed review of everything from transportation services and irrigation methods to use of local materials and mitigation of construction waste, evaluators determined that Verano Place’s Infant Toddler Center and four separate housing units each earned enough points to garner the council’s top honor. UC Irvine’s total LEED award count now stands at 19, placing it alongside such green powerhouses as the University of Florida, Harvard University and Arizona State University.

“Each LEED award is a reaffirmation of our commitment to best practices in sustainability,” said Wendell Brase, vice chancellor for administrative & business services. “Our design and construction of new buildings, our faculty research into energy alternatives and every aspect of global environmental sustainability and our commitment to climate solutions all work together to make UC Irvine a standout in these areas.”

Verano Place houses more than 1,200 graduate students, some with families, in one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Completed in 2012, the complex is less than a mile from 10 basic services, reducing the need for single-occupant vehicle transportation for daily living necessities. Numerous bus lines serve the community. Other qualities helping to secure the LEED Platinum rating include:

  • Filtration systems to reduce pollutants in storm water runoff
  • “Cool roofs” that mitigate the project’s warming effect on its surroundings
  • Plumbing fixtures that produce 45 percent water savings in residential buildings
  • Efficient building, lighting and mechanical systems, combined with UC Irvine’s central energy plant and campus renewable energy, that result in projected energy cost savings of more than 73 percent in residential buildings
  • Diversion of 89 percent of construction and demolition waste from landfills
  • Use of building materials for more than 12 percent of the project that were harvested, extracted, recovered and/or manufactured within 500 miles of the construction site

“It’s a complicated menu of factors that go into the U.S. Green Building Council’s detailed considerations,” said Richard Demerjian, director of environmental planning & sustainability. “Achieving platinum status is definitely a source of pride for our team and a demonstration of UC Irvine’s role as an environmental steward.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving high-tech hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.

Media access: UC Irvine maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media at Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit Additional resources for journalists may be found at