New interpretive center to be built at west end of Arboretum

As California architecture continues to become greener, UC Davis is leading the charge, making sustainability a key point in its renovations and plans to expand more campus facilities into the Arboretum.

“All of UC and our campus in particular has ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing water use and reducing waste,” said Bob Segar, assistant vice chancellor of Campus Planning and Community Resources, in an email interview.

These goals are going to be kept in mind when expanding the campus.

According to Segar, they are planning a new interpretive center at the west end of the Arboretum.
“The building will maximize use of the passive architecture and on-site systems,” Segar said.

This approach to expanding the campus will allow buildings to be shaped by their surrounding environment, utilizing natural lighting and cooling techniques.

Natural resources will be incorporated when constructing buildings in the future, as well.

“We try to take advantage of what Mother Nature gives us,” said Sid England, assistant vice chancellor of Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability.

California has design standards in place for energy conservation, but UC Davis is committed to going above and beyond these standards.

“We try to beat the California design standards by 30 percent,” England said. “We also planned to reduce our carbon footprint to what it was in the year 2000 by 2014. We have already accomplished that goal, and we are planning to go even lower.”

As of 2008 UC Davis’ carbon footprint is 250,000 metric tons CO2e (mtCO2e). Officials plan to decrease the figure to 210,000 mtCO2e by the year 2020.

According to the University Office of the President, UC is obligated to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB) cap-and-trade program. UC San Diego, UCLA, UC Irvine, UCSF and UC Davis (including the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento) have carbon emissions above the 25,000 mtCO2e limit set by CARB.

The University has focused on energy-efficient projects, including renovating current buildings.

“We’ve completed over 100 energy efficiency projects since 2009 and saved $4.6 million in energy costs,” England said.

Plans for the new building in the Arboretum are still in the early stages. But not all students are thrilled with the idea of having a building in the middle of the Arboretum, which many view as a natural sanctuary.

“I’d prefer the Arboretum to be just nature,” said Bobby Moir, an undeclared first-year.

LAUREN MASCARENHAS can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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