CSUN Earns Third LEED Certification for Energy-Efficient Design

  • California State University, Northridge's newest LEED-certified building, the Extended University Commons. Photo by Lee Choo.

  • The design of the Extended University Commons is sleek and sustainable. Photo by Lee Choo.

California State University, Northridge’s new Extended University Commons (EUC) building has joined the campus’s Student Recreation Center and Valley Performing Arts Center in sustainable design achievements. In early May, the U.S. Green Building Council awarded the EUC a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification, which is the second-highest certification the offered by the organization.

Catherine R. Kniazewycz, director of design and construction for CSUN’s Department of Facilities Planning Design and Construction, said that it’s good for CSUN to obtain LEED certification as LEED is a “widely recognized and respected standard.”

“To achieve LEED certification verifiably demonstrates the commitment of the building owner to sustainability and sustainable buildings,” she added.

Kniazewycz also said that LEED Certification is difficult to win.

“Obtaining LEED certification is very rigorous,” Kniazewycz said. “The process starts early in design. You need to decide what level of certification you are going to attempt, because it’s really hard to go back if you don’t make the right choices early on.”

Kniazewycz also noted that the process is time consuming. She said CSUN registered the building for LEED Certification in August 2013, meaning it took almost four years to secure the certification.

The process is tough, in part, because there are seven categories involved in LEED scoring. A total of 40 to 49 points earns a building LEED Certification, 50 to 59 earns Silver, 60 to 79 earns Gold, and a score of 80 or more earns Platinum.

CSUN’s EUC building received 17 of 26 points for sustainable sites, 5 of 10 for water efficiency, 31 of 35 for energy and atmosphere, 4 of 14 for materials and resources, 11 of 15 for indoor environmental quality, 4 of 6 innovation in design and 2 of 2 for regional priority credits for a grand total of 74 points.

The university opened the new building in early August 2016 on the west side of campus to provide students, faculty and staff with extended support, space and technical resources.

The building is located at the southeast corner of Darby Avenue and Vincennes Street. The EUC primarily houses the Tseng College, which previously had been located in the campus bookstore complex but had outgrown the space due to the rapid growth of programs and services for working adults, their employers, CSUN’s regional partners and international students over the past decade.