UC San Diego Nuevo West is LEED Gold Certified

Date Posted: 07.07.2020

University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) Nuevo West Housing has received LEED for New Construction Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The $150 million, 442,000-square-foot graduate housing community accommodates 884 total residents, including the La Jolla Family House with 80 beds for medical center patients and families, and a mix of shared amenity spaces that serve residents’ diverse academic, social and health needs.

Highlights of the project’s sustainable design include:

The buildings are oriented to harness prevailing northwestern winds for natural cooling. The chiseled footprint of the building enables living spaces to have operable windows on two exterior walls, maximizing cross ventilation even within a single bedroom. In addition, a 120-foot-tall solar chimney at the Viento building heats up and pulls air up and out of the building’s corridors and central common spaces. This passive design strategy allows the building to meet comfort goals without the use of large fans at the ends of each corridor, as would typically be required.

The project features a roof-top solar thermal system which produces about 72% of the domestic hot water load for the buildings. In terms of energy use, the project performs 49% better than the ASHRAE 90.1 Energy Standard. The project incorporates materials at the site and roof level that reflect radiation to prevent heat absorption and minimize heat-island impacts. Electric Vehicle charging stations are included in the garage and priority parking for carpools, ride-share, and clean air vehicles are included around the project. Covered, secure bicycle storage and accessible pathways and linkages to neighboring communities and main campus encourage use of non-motorized transportation options.

Water-conserving fixtures are used throughout the building to reduce potable water demand by 39%. Native and drought-resistant plantings and efficient irrigation systems are projected to save more than 200,000 gallons of water per year. All irrigation water is provided by a municipal recycled water system to eliminate the use of potable water for irrigation. Stormwater systems are designed to maintain water quality while reducing the rate of rainwater runoff to pre-development levels. Bioretention is used at many points on the site.

The project team diverted more than 75% of construction and demolition debris to recycling and reuse facilities rather than landfills or incineration facilities. The project prioritized installing materials with recycled content.

Nuevo West is the second of three contiguous phases of graduate student housing on East Campus that provide critical housing capacity and form a cohesive neighborhood. The first phase of development, Mesa Nueva, opened in 2017, and was followed by the openings of Nuevo West and Nuevo East in 2020. All three phases of “One Mesa” have achieved LEED Gold certification. The three projects were delivered by the Hensel Phelps | Mithun design-build team, and together have added more than 3,500 beds on campus for graduate and professional students.