Green Building

UC Merced Central Plant LEED Gold

Responding to student requests, in January 2002 The Regents asked the President to undertake a feasibility study for the adoption of a Green Building Policy for all proposed and to-be-renovated buildings.  These policies mandate that all new buildings on all ten campuses will construct all new buildings to the equivalent of LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction) Certified level and to outperform California's Title 24 energy code by at least 20 percent.

To move towards more sustainable operations and maintenance of existing buildings, each campus must submit one pilot building for LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) certification.

UC renovation projects with a budget over $5 million must meet the equivalent of a LEED for Commercial Interiors Certified level.

Leading by example, the University of California Headquarters in Oakland, California is LEED Silver certified.

Raising the Bar—LEED Certifications
While UC is analyzing the possibility of raising the minimum green building requirements in the policy guidelines from certified to silver, some campuses have already chosen to go beyond the minimum requirements. 

Fifteen UC buildings on eight UC campuses have received some level of LEED certification.  In addition, there are over 100 new construction projects underway, and 15 renovation projects.  Nearly half of these will be at a Silver rating or higher.

Both UC Merced and UC Santa Barbara have adopted an unprecedented goal to reach at least LEED silver level for all new buildings and major renovation projects. 

UC Irvine and Merced developed the first campus wide green building protocol, under the LEED for New Building Construction rating systems, working with the US Green Building Council to streamline the LEED process for all university, nationwide.

UC Santa Barbara has established a campus-wide approach to LEED, including a policy to renovate 25 existing buildings over 5 years and improve operational practices to certify them through the LEED for Existing Buildings program.


To download a copy of the Green Building Policy, click here.


To view a list of certified UC building, click here.


UC Merced is the only campus in the country that has earned at least a LEED certification on every campus building. Three of the first four buildings have achieved LEED Gold certification, and a fourth building achieved LEED silver. They have received LEED Gold certification for the Classroom and Office Building, the Central Plant, and the Kolligian Library.


UC Santa Barbara has received LEED platinum certification for Bren Hall. The building has been recognized as the greenest laboratory in the United States and established high standards for future facilities. When built, it was one of only two LEED platinum buildings in the country.

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