Sierra College: LEED Gold, California's First for a Community College

The first permanent building on the Sierra Community College Tahoe-Truckee Campus has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The 28,500 square foot facility, designed by Lionakis Architects and built by contractor Rudolph and Sletten, is the first LEED Gold certified community college building in the state of California. The new facility has the capacity to serve up to 1000 students.

Commissioning benefits included:

  • Correction of day-lighting cycling
  • Lighting occupancy sensors not resetting room temperature setpoint if room became unoccupied during Occupied Mode
  • Outdoor lighting zones not wired correctly
  • Room pressurization issues between lab and corridor
  • Building pressurization was negative
  • Control sequences not per the approved submittals
  • 156 design review comments
  • 59 submittal review comments
  • 34 BMS control review comments
  • Over 100 field testing issues 
Key sustainable features included:

  • 40% less water use due to efficient interior fixtures and dual-flush controls.
  • No refrigerants used. A combination of evaporative cooling and outside air (called economizing) was incorporated, which reduces air conditioning energy use by 70%.
  • Smart classroom controls regulate temperature and lighting according to the amount of daylight and number of students.
  • Demand-controlled ventilation (fresh air control) reduces energy use by up to 50% when the building is vacant.
  • Piping and ductwork have 50-100% thicker insulation than industry average, providing more efficient heating and cooling.
  • Components in place for future solar-thermal heating systems.
  • Better indoor air with humidifiers using electromagnetic water treatment instead of chemicals.
  • All large fans and pumps have variable speed motors for reduced energy consumption.

Read more here.