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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measured Performance Case Study: Science & Engineering Building I, UC Merced


The University of California at Merced (UC Merced) is one of the first new research universities to be developed in the 21st Century. UC Merced aims to be a model for environmental stewardship and sustainable design, with its facilities serving as a living laboratory for the interdisciplinary study ofresource conservation and engineering. As the tenth campus of the UC system, UC Merced will be one of the most laboratory-intensive campuses, with up to 35% of the buildings used for laboratories and other scientific services. Opened in 2005 with just 1,000 students, the campus is plannedfor growth of up to 25,000 students over the next few decades. This 21st century campus responded to the pressing environmental concerns of climate change by setting a goal of using 50% less energy than other California state campuses. This ambitious aim has driven many aspects of the design, construction and operation of all buildings on the Merced campus. The campus pursued LEED1 silver for all buildings in the initial phase of development. Most buildings, including the Science & Engineering Building I (S&E), have achieved LEED Gold certification. As of March 2009, the campus requires all new buildings to meet a LEED Gold standard.

Science & Engineering Building I is one of five buildings in the initial phase of development at UC Merced. Others include a central plant, library, classroom and office building, and student housing. Completed in January 2006, S&E is three stories tall, with 236,989 gross square feet. Approximately half the building space contains wet and dry laboratories for research and instruction,with the remainder used as academic and administrative office space.

This case study examines the actual post-occupancy energy performance of S&E in relation to design elements and objectives. The measurements cover July 2007 through June 2008. Some initial commissioning tasks were still being completed during this measurement period.

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