Board of Trustees Approves Construction Guidelines for GCC

El Vaquero Staff Writer

Glendale Community College is a step closer to having an environmentally friendly campus after the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to follow new guidelines for all future construction and renovation of buildings.

The resolution, passed in May, established a board policy to design and construct all future projects and building renovations according to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Building Rating System.

“Following the LEED [Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines] will benefit the school by using far less energy than a standard building of the same size,” said William Taylor, Director of Business Services at GCC. “The school benefits by having a more environmentally friendly building, as well as spending less on energy use.”

Taylor, who is in charge of coordinating all construction projects at GCC, said the recent budget cuts did not have an influence on the board”s decision, as it had already considered such a resolution prior to any budget cuts.

The board became aware of the resolution when Associate Professor of Mathematics, Michael Allen, brought the issue to the attention of Lawrence Serot, Vice President of Administrative Services.

Allen said he advocated the resolution after being impressed with Los Angeles Community College’s initiative to work with Global Green.

Los Angeles Community College, along with GCC, is one of several local educational institutions to adopt environmentally friendly building standards.

This is the first known time GCC has made an initiative to mold the campus into an environmentally cleaner institution.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Building Rating System was created by the U.S. Green Building Council and is the national environmental standard by which buildings are developed.

A building is deemed “green” once it has been certified by Global Green USA, the environmental organization working with GCC. This means the building is environmentally friendly.

There are several levels of point-based certification given for each environmentally friendly aspect of a building. These environmental features fall into one of five areas of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, hence, a building must receive minimal points in all areas to qualify for certification.

Taylor explained the advantages of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines would help GCC become more energy efficient, as well as create more comfortable working environments for both students and staff.
One possible environmental feature that aids energy efficiency is the use of solar power for lighting and heating purposes.

Although natural lighting will be used as much as possible, new energy-efficient techniques will be used to create lighting to support the purpose of each room.

“A computer lab would have Aviation Building, a new aviation and nursing building, in 2004; it will be the first GCC building to follow Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design guidelines when it is completed in 2006.

The new facility will become the first “green” building at GCC upon its certification by Global Green in 2006. Naturally, the building will use much less energy than a standard building of equal size.

The opening of the facility will mark a new chapter in GCC’s history.
According to Global Green, “excessive resource and energy use and a growing demand for raw materials are largely responsible for the depletion of natural resources worldwide and the acceleration of global warming.”

Global Green USA is the U.S. affiliate organization of Green Cross International and according to its Web site, acts as a facilitator to create “collaborative approaches and crosscutting solutions to environmental challenges.”

“It’s fascinating,” said Wells. “It’s great to see [GCC] protecting the environment and making it a part of [its] mission.”lighting that does not glare on computer screens, while a lecture hall would feature lights that can be dimmed so that students could comfortably take notes while an instructor conducts Microsoft PowerPoint presentations,” said Taylor.

“Studies show that students learn better in naturally lit settings,” said Walker Wells, director of the Resource Efficiency and Sustainable Communities for the Urban Environment Program at Global Green USA.

According to Global Green’s Web site, “40 percent of the world’s resource and energy use is linked to the construction and maintenance of buildings.” It also states, “over 30 percent of conventional buildings have poor indoor air quality and we spend about 90 percent of our time indoors.”

Although it is estimated that the costs for building increase by 10 percent to 25 percent to attain some of the higher Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, design-certified buildings will allow GCC to spend less money on energy.