Y2E2 awarded certification for green efforts

Sept. 1, 2013, 7:00 p.m.

The U.S. Green Building Council recently awarded its highest sustainability rating to the Jerry Yang and Akiko Yamazaki Environment and Energy Building (Y2E2), potentially – according to University administrators – setting the scene for an increasingly green campus.

Y2E2 is the first campus building to win a LEED-EBOM Platinum Certification based on measurable data, although other LEED-certified structures – such as the Knight Management Center – have been previously recognized for their design potential. The $118 million multidisciplinary workspace, which takes advantage of resources like natural light, lake water and recycled materials to reduce its environmental footprint, consumes 42 percent less energy and 80 percent less potable water than state codes at the time mandated.

“It’s the full package,” said Sustainability Coordinator Jiffy Vermylen M.S. ’06 who managed the certification process. “In order to get Platinum, you can’t be strong in one area and weak in another.”

While Y2E2 enjoys efficient energy and water usage, building occupants also played a part in obtaining the certification through surveys about their thermal comfort and commuting habits, according to Y2E2 Building Leadership Team chair Jeffrey Koseff.

“It’s about how the people in the building behave,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

The certification process itself spanned a year, featuring data and support from around 30 distinct University offices.

“Like a spider web, we were reaching out all over the University, to everything from surplus property sales, to the building occupants themselves, to the custodial services provider,” Vermylen said. “No part of the University building operation was untouched during this process.”

Y2E2’s platinum certification may set a precedent for future campus buildings, according to Koseff and Vermylen. For example, the University’s Project Delivery Process Manual recently implemented a mandate that new campus buildings use 30 percent less energy than required by state building codes.

“It’s nice that the building has been recognized, but it’s more important and significant for the University to be able to use that information to improve its overall operation,” Vermylen said.

“So when you see other buildings that came after Y2E2, they are sharing in the larger success of that first project,” she added.

Hannah Knowles is senior staff writer from San Jose who served as Volume 253 Editor-in-Chief. Prior to that, she managed The Daily's news section.

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