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Ohlone College Newark Center Realizes Unprecedented Energy Conservation in First Year of Operation.

New community college campus recognized as one of the greenest college campuses in the world

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Ohlone College Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology, an 81 acre campus with a 128,000-square-foot facility in Newark, California, has set new benchmarks in energy efficiency, conservation and savings for higher education campuses.

Designed by Perkins+Will, a global integrated design firm, in close concert with Alfa Tech Engineers, a leading provider of alternative energy engineering services, the Newark Center was completed in early 2008 and LEED[R] Platinum certified in August 2008 - the only community college campus to achieve the U.S. Green Building Council's highest recognition. Ohlone's Newark campus is located adjacent to federally protected wetlands near the Southeast shore of San Francisco Bay.

Unprecedented Energy Conservation and Savings

The design team employed sophisticated solar, geothermal and enthalpy heat recovery wheel systems to maximize the energy efficiency of the new facility. In its first year of operation, the energy systems, along with the Newark Center's other sustainable features, realized:

* Solar power generation that prevented 421-tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere in 2008 - the equivalent of reducing vehicle traffic by more than one million miles, while generating enough clean power for 123 homes

* 69-percent reduction in purchased electricity and 72-percent reduction in natural gas consumption compared to the same facility designed to meet California's Title 24 energy code - the nation's toughest

* Combined electricity and gas cost of just $63,052, or only $0.48-square foot per year, for the entire facility in 2008, translating into a savings of more than $130,000 compared to the same facility designed to meet Title 24

* Net-zero energy consumption from April 2008 - August, 2008 - removing the campus from the electrical grid entirely and allowing the college to sell its unused power

Campus as an Environmental Learning Tool

The Newark Center's academic programs focus on the growing fields of biotechnology, environmental studies, emerging technology and health sciences. The alternative energy systems are not only integral to the curricula, but highly visible to the entire campus population to promote environmental awareness and conservation.

"Because the Center's design would also be a learning tool, we placed the enthalpy wheels behind the large windows in plain view of the main lobby with animated readouts showing the energy recovered in real time," says Karen Cribbins-Kulkin, Perkins+Will lead architect for the project. "Energy savings are displayed in real time, so students, faculty and visitors can see how the systems work and how much energy is conserved."

Ohlone College's Dr. Gale Carli explains that the campus design has been instrumental in positioning the Newark Center as a leader in environmental studies. "Our environmental program has grown by such leaps and bounds that we've already had to turn many, many students away," says Carli.


The Newark Center project recently received the Gold Medal in Building Design + Construction's prestigious "2009 Building Team of the Year" competition, as well as the "2009 Acterra Business Environmental Award" in the Sustainable Built Environment large project category. Acterra is a non-profit that educates organizations about the environment and honors leaders in sustainable design.

The new campus has also received accolades from state dignitaries. "You (Ohlone College) have set the standard for California public buildings," says John Garamendi, Lieutenant Governor of California. "I want every other campus and building to be designed and built to the very highest environmental standards. And when they say it can't be done, I'm going to ask, 'have you been to Ohlone?'."

About Perkins+Will

Established in 1935, Perkins+Will ( is an integrated design firm serving clients from 21 offices around the world. The firm practices architecture, interiors, branded environments, planning + strategies and urban design with clients in the aviation, corporate + commercial + civic, healthcare, higher education, K-12 education, and science + technology markets. Perkins+Will routinely ranks among the world's top design firms and has received hundreds of awards, including the prestigious American Institute of Architects' "Firm of the Year Award." With more LEED[R] Accredited Professionals than any other firm, Perkins+Will is recognized as a leader in the sustainable design movement.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Jun 3, 2009
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