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Tutor Center Takes LEED in Going Green

Tutor Center Takes LEED in Going Green
The skylight in the dome of the Trojan Family Room offers energy efficiency.

If you look closely, you’ll see a lot of green in the new Ronald Tutor Campus Center.

It’s in the tri-colored red clay bricks. It’s in the frosted white glass of Steven and Kathryn Sample Hall. Look up and you can even see green in the massive skylight of the Trojan Family Room.

The Tutor Center is the first USC building to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, which means it is healthier inside and out for the environment and for those who visit the structure.

“People are in awe that the building can look like it does and achieve what it does,” said Stan Westfall ’71, project manager for USC Capital Construction Development, which has given tours of the building to students and alumni.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED promotes projects that reduce negative environmental impacts and improve occupant well-being.

Westfall said the Tutor Center is expected to garner a gold LEED certification, which is awarded after a final inspection.

“Getting the lowest certification level was easy,” Westfall said. “The higher levels require more creativity and a lot more work at the design level.”

The Tutor Center was designed by AC Martin Partners, which is responsible for several buildings on the University Park campus, including the Musick Law Building, the Norris Medical Library and the award-winning Popovich Hall.

AC Martin senior designer Tammy Jow ’95 said the five-story, 192,000-square-foot campus center benefits from many systems USC already has in place, including a transit system that travels downtown and around campus; the Zipcar shared-ride service; and a carpool program.

“USC has already taken many steps to improve the energy efficiency of its buildings,” said Westfall, who oversaw the Galen Center construction. “We were already thinking that way. Going for the LEED certification was an extension of that thought process.”

Jow said USC made it a priority to have a green building.

“The biggest factor in this achievement was in the collaboration among the university, the design team and the contractor,” Jow said. “Everyone was on board to make this happen.”

The result is a reduction in energy cost by 31 percent, compared to the standard baseline, he added.

“This is not a trend – it is becoming the standard in state buildings and the city of Los Angeles,” Jow said.

Examples of USC going green in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center include:

• energy efficiency: LED lighting used in most interior and exterior lamps. The skylight in the dome of the Trojan Family Room reduces the need for electric lights.

• recycled content: The frosted glass in Steven and Kathryn Sample Hall is 100 percent recycled.

• renewable material: Bamboo and plywood used in the Moreton Fig restaurant is renewable.

• indoor pollution: Carpets do not contain formaldehyde. Before public use, buildings were vented 24 hours a day for a week to purge them of construction and chemical pollution.

• building design: Outdoor walkways shade the building, requiring less air conditioning.

• recycling: Trash compactors separate biodegradables.

• water efficiency: Low-flow plumbing was installed.

• sustainable site: An underground basin captures rainfall.

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