UCSF Rocks with First LEED Silver Status for Existing Building

March 22, 2010

UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann talks with Matt St. Clair, sustainability manager at the UC Office of the President, while Maric Munn, director of Facilities Management, and Dan Geiger, executive director of the NorCal Chapter of the US Green Building Council, prepare for the certification ceremony on March 5.

UCSF’s ongoing efforts to be more sustainable were honored on March 5 at a dedication ceremony celebrating the certification of the Arthur and Toni Rembe Rock Hall as a LEED (Leadership in Engineering and Environmental Design) Silver building.

The certification is a prestigious and credible green seal of approval for sustainable buildings from the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The LEED building rating system is the leading industry standard – measuring strategies that save energy, promote water efficiency, reduce CO2 emissions and improve indoor environmental quality, among other environmental impacts. From lowest to highest, the LEED rating system categories are certified, silver, gold and platinum.

“Rock Hall is unique because it is the first time UCSF has successfully operated an existing building to fulfill the LEED standards,” said UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, who attended the certification ceremony at Mission Bay.

The US Green Building Council’s seal of approval appears in Rock Hall at the UCSF Mission Bay campus.

A typical laboratory is much more energy intensive than an office building, but Rock Hall integrates a range of green operating practices, including using more efficient water devices, implementing a green cleaning program, expanding the recycling program and enhancing indoor air quality measures.

By improving its environmental performance, Rock Hall has decreased annual electricity use costs by 5 percent and reduced water use by 25 percent—both of which add up to $100,000 in savings compared to a conventional building, according to Maric Munn, director of Facilities Management.

“UCSF is showing important leadership with this accomplishment,” said Matthew St. Clair, sustainability manager at the UC Office of the President. “Rock Hall is the first laboratory building in San Francisco to receive LEED for existing buildings certification, and one of the first lab buildings in the country to earn a silver certification.

“The certification of Rock Hall and efforts to build on this accomplishment by certifying several additional buildings make UCSF a leader in efficient, sustainable operations of its buildings both in the University of California system and among universities around the country,” St. Clair added.

Embracing Sustainable Practices

The University of California has embraced the goal of sustainability and is transforming its business practices to reduce its environmental impact and fight global warming. These efforts gained momentum in June 2004 when UC issued the Presidential Policy on Green Building Design and Clean Energy Standards, which has since been expanded, revised, and renamed as the Policy on Sustainable Practices.

One of the most comprehensive and far-reaching institutional sustainability commitments in the nation, the UC policy cites guidelines and goals in the areas of sustainable transportation, climate protection, waste reduction and recycling, environmentally preferable purchasing, sustainable food services, clean energy, and green building.

As a health science campus, UCSF is working in all of these areas to improve the University’s effect on the environment and the health of those in the community. For example, Materials Management at UCSF Medical Center recently reported that it will save more than $500,000 this fiscal year by switching from certain disposable products to those that are sanitized or sterilized and reused and will be diverting more than 100,000 pounds of plastic waste from landfills. 

UCSF’s efforts to initiate and implement environmentally friendly efforts are directed by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability (CACS). Formed in April 2008, CACS is charged with examining UCSF’s effect on the environment from a comprehensive perspective; evaluating existing UCSF policies, procedures, and/or programs that affect the environment; and recommending to the Chancellor changes that will increase sustainability at UCSF.

Photos by Susan Merrell

Related Links:


UCSF Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability

UC Sustainability

UCSF Hires Sustainability Manager
UCSF Today, January 26, 2010

UC Continues Progress in Sustainability Practices
UCSF Today, January 22, 2008