UC San Diego Mesa Nueva Achieves LEED Gold Certification

Date Posted: 05.21.2018

University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) Mesa Nueva Housing has received LEED for New Construction Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The landscape design and site plan work to maximize the amount of open space, community space and activity space for residents. The site design organizes the site around people rather than cars; primary building entry points are positioned to optimize walking convenience to active community gathering points, shuttle bus connections to the main UC San Diego campus and planned Light Rail Trolley stations. Exterior stairs are featured at key pedestrian locations to help promote and create a ‘take the stair’ culture, encouraging active and healthy lifestyles.

To support resident health and car-free connectivity, the Mesa Nueva design incorporates extensive bike parking and a centrally located bike maintenance station. University surveys revealed 73 percent of students who want to live on campus indicate that they would use a bicycle as their primary mode of transportation.

Water conservation is a vital component to the project, the UC San Diego campus and the greater San Diego region. Over the past 30 years, San Diego has had an average rainfall of 10.34 inches per year, which is 58% less rain than the average in California and 74% less than the national average. The importance of water conservation has been amplified by recurring and record-breaking drought.

Low-flow fixtures are used throughout the community, and contribute to the design’s estimated 43% reduction in water use compared to the LEED baseline. All stormwater is managed on-site through a dry well system which allows for deep infiltration and groundwater recharge. The landscape design includes regional and drought-tolerant plant selections to minimize the amount of irrigation water needed. All irrigation water is provided by a municipal recycled water system to eliminate the use of potable water for irrigation.

The design is modeled to exceed the 2013 California Title 24 Part 6 energy code requirements by 24%, and meets the 2030 Challenge for the 2014 design year with a 61% reduction in energy use. A key component to achieve compliance with this code standard is reducing peak energy loads and demand. Space heating demands are reduced with an enhanced building exterior wall envelope featuring insulation levels that exceed prescriptive code requirements by 225% and window performance by approximately 40%. The solar thermal energy system works to reduce the hot water demand and the lighting design features all LED fixtures. The parking garage roof structure is PV-ready for a 209.1 kW array.

Mesa Nueva housing opened in 2017, and the university began construction on a second phase, Nuevo West, that fall. The third phase, Nuevo East, will break ground this year. The three contiguous villages contribute to an overarching goal to create “One Mesa” and enhance the university’s visibility on East Campus.

All three projects are being delivered by the Hensel Phelps | Mithun design-build team, and together will add more than 3,500 beds on campus for graduate and professional students. UC San Diego aims to add more than 10,000 beds to enable the university to provide a four-year housing guarantee for undergraduates and Ph.D. students at 20% below market cost.