Thursday, March 26, 2009

UCLA goes Green

La Kretz Hall, UCLA's first federally certified green building, built in 2005.

When I'm trying to pick the college I want to attend (hopefully Cal), I try to learn as much about the college as I can. One of the things that amazes me is the extent that UCLA is doing to promote environmental sustainability. As an aspiring civil engineer, I can't wait to learn about how to build buildings that are under clean, energy-efficent, environmentally friendly standards, and UCLA has done that. 

Some of the facts about La Kretz Hall are astounding. The building was built out of 80% recycled steel and its carpets are made out of recycled water bottles. The eco-friendly paint in the building does not send out as much harmful chemcials as ordinary paint does. Wow!

Plus, UCLA students can expect to see in their cafeterias biodegradable plastic (usually corn/potato starch, if I remember right) forks and other organic utensils. 

One major thing UCLA does is maintain energy efficiency. I'll just quote what it does from UCLA's Magazine. UCLA uses a co-generational plant which powers 70% of the campus. Here's what it does:

"We generate energy with a pair of gas turbines, which you would call a jet engine," Johnson explains. "We burn gas in the jet engines, producing a stream of hot gas that drives a turbine that spins an electric generator, producing electricity."

The blazing heat doesn't go to waste. A heat-recovery steam generator uses the 1,000-degree jet-engine exhaust to generate steam, some of which is used to generate electricity. It doesn't end there. Part of the steam is sent across campus for heating, cooking and sterilization; the rest powers high-capacity water chillers making cold water for air conditioning. On top of it all, the co-gen's electricity is cheaper and more efficiently produced than what UCLA could buy.

Now, that's energy efficient!

For more detailed information, check here. There's also a very, well scripted video summing up UCLA's actions to promote environemntal sustainabilty below:

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