Going green: Chico State logs first ‘green’ building in CSU

Other campuses in the California State University system had reason to be green with envy last week, when Chico State was recognized as the first CSU campus to officially register a “green” building in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

The new $34 million Student Services Center, planned for Hazel and Second streets, will boast features designed to “boost environmental, economic, health and productivity performance over that of a conventional building.”

Professor Mark Stemen, who teaches environmental courses, said the benefits will go beyond saving energy and resources. “Green buildings help educate the occupants about the importance of using fewer raw materials, purchasing local products to reduce transportation costs, matching landscaping to the surrounding ecosystem, and powering our activities with the energy of the sun,” he said.

LEED was developed by the United States Green Building Council as a voluntary standard for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings. To be LEED-certified, buildings score points in a variety of categories, including water efficiency, materials and resources and energy and atmosphere. Designers score points for features such as water use reduction, renewable energy, non-toxic building materials and wastewater recycling. Depending on the total number of points scored, a project is rated as “LEED Certified,” “Silver,” “Gold,” or “Platinum.”

Chico State’s certification of the Student Services Center is the first step toward a future of green structures on campus.

Annie Sherman, the Associated Students director of environmental affairs, said the goal is for all new buildings at Chico State to earn Gold-level LEED certification.

There are currently six University of California campuses with registered green buildings, with plans for the currently under-construction UC Merced campus to be entirely LEED-certified. Two state community colleges also feature green buildings.