Mission Bay Aquatic Center "LEEDs" the Region by Receiving the Highest Green Building Certification

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The Mission Bay Aquatic Center has become the first existing building to achieve LEED Platinum in California State University (CSU) System. With the assistance of Sullivan Solar Power, the local aquatic center facility was also the first commercial building in San Diego County to achieve net-zero consumption.

Mission Bay Aquatic Center's solar panels help facility shine

We are very excited about their most prestigious recognition in the green building community with the LEED Platinum certification and are proud to have assisted the facility in declaring energy independence.

In April, the Mission Bay Aquatic Center became the first facility in the California State University System and the second in San Diego County to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance. LEED is an internationally recognized green building rating system, overseen by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Platinum certification is the highest level of recognition for green buildings under LEED guidelines.

“The LEED Platinum certification demonstrates how, within a reasonable budget, you can reduce the impact of a facility on the environment and the climate,” said Glen Brandenburg, founder of the Mission Bay Aquatic Center and current Director of Facilities and Sustainability for the Associated Students of San Diego State University.

The Mission Bay Aquatic Center is jointly operated by the Associated Students of San Diego State University (SDSU) and University of California San Diego (UC San Diego) Recreation; undergraduates from both universities worked together toachieve the LEED certification for the waterfront facility. Students from SDSU’s Green Love Sustainability Advisory Board and College of Engineering joined students from UC San Diego USGBC Students and Building Commissioning and Sustainability to collaborate on the yearlong LEED certification process. Students utilized the framework set forth by the USGBC to identify sustainability measures for the building.

The Mission Bay Aquatic Center has been working toward the facility’s LEED-certification for five years, however the facility had many ‘green’ attributes since its early years. In 1989, the center implemented energy-efficiency measures and lighting upgrades.

During the certification process, under the supervision of Michelle Perez, head of UC San Diego’s LEED team and UC San Diego sustainability analyst, UC San Diego and SDSU students tracked and ensured several strategies were implemented by MBAC to obtain the high-level certification for the Mission Bay Aquatic Center. These strategies include:

  •     Using renewable energy
  •     Redirecting stormwater runoff
  •     Reducing energy use throughout the building
  •     Encouraging staff to use alternate transportation
  •     Maximizing recycling and minimizing trash
  •     Using environmentally preferred office, restroom and cleaning products

Perez has guided the USGBC student group at UC San Diego in more than five LEED certifications on campus. Having completed these projects, the UC San Diego team had acquired the knowledge and experience necessary to teach SDSU’s USGBC students how to self-certify their buildings, according to Perez.

The collective efforts of UC San Diego and SDSU students contributed to the Mission Bay Aquatic Center’s LEED Platinum eligibility, including using renewable energy from a solar power system installed by locally headquartered firm, Sullivan Solar Power.

“Sullivan Solar Power installed an outstanding solar PV system, which was particularly challenging due to the saltwater environment,” Brandenburg said. “There is a long list of LEED Platinum requirements, but the 41,000-watt solar PV system was crucial, as you get the most points for a net-zero energy building.”

The Mission Bay Aquatic Center has been 100-percent solar-powered since fall 2008, when Sullivan Solar Power installed a 41,000-watt solar array. The center was recognized as the first net-zero energy commercial building in San Diego County. The solar project was made possible by a grant from the California Solar Initiative and funding from Associated Students of SDSU and UC San Diego. To date, more than 390,000 pounds of greenhouses gases have been avoided with this solar array, equivalent to the pollution emitted by an average passenger car in 14,433 days.

“The Mission Bay Aquatic Center once again sets the bar for sustainability in San Diego,” said Daniel Sullivan, founder and President of Sullivan Solar Power. “We are very excited about their most prestigious recognition in the green building community with the LEED Platinum certification and are proud to have assisted the facility in declaring energy independence.”

To learn more about the Mission Bay Aquatic Center, the world’s largest instructional waterfront facility, visit http://www.mbaquaticcenter.com. For addition details about Sullivan Solar Power, visit http://www.SullivanSolarPower.com.


About Sullivan Solar Power

Sullivan Solar Power is a turnkey solar system provider that delivers solar electric projects from concept to completion. The company has installed over 14,000,000 watts of solar power ranging from small-scale residential to large-scale commercial and municipal systems. Sullivan Solar Power is headquartered in San Diego, CA and owned and operated by Dan Sullivan. Sullivan Solar Power has a longstanding A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau, with no complaints filed since the business began. The firm has been named one of the fastest growing energy companies in the nation by Inc. Magazine for three consecutive years and services all of Southern California. Regardless of project size and scope, Sullivan is committed to delivering the best products and the most qualified professionals to its customers. Visit http://www.sullivansolarpower.com for more information.

About Associated Students of SDSU

Associated Students of SDSU is an independent, student-directed, non-profit corporation that is one of the largest student governance organizations in the California State University system. As an affiliate of San Diego State University, the programs and facilities Associated Students manages are enjoyed by students, faculty, staff and the San Diego community. For more information, visit as.sdsu.edu.

About US Green Building Council Students (USGBC) at UC San Diego

USGBC Students is a national network of college and university student groups. The USGBC Students program at UC San Diego aims to transform students into sustainable professionals by providing them with hands-on experiences working on sustainability initiatives and teaching them to develop behaviors which lead to an environmentally healthier campus, nation and planet.

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Erica Johnson
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