Tercero 3 earns highest sustainability rating

Photo: Sign in shape of plastic milk jug indicates a receptacle is made of 796 recycled milk jugs.
Photo: Sign in shape of plastic milk jug indicates a receptacle is made of 796 recycled milk jugs.

The Tercero Phase 3 student housing project has earned the highest possible rating of platinum in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, program.

Tercero 3 — with seven buildings that opened last fall — is the first residence hall project to earn LEED-platinum status at UC Davis and one of the largest residence hall projects in the nation to attain the certification.

“It’s great that 1,200 new students every year will get to experience living in a residence hall that has attained such a high sustainability rating,” said Mike Sheehan, director of Facilities Services at Student Housing. “As we move forward with our next residence hall project, Tercero Phase 4, we will apply the lessons learned from Tercero 3.”

Here are some of Tercero 3’s “green” (and now platinum!) highlights: space heating and hot water systems that derive their energy from steam formerly lost to the atmosphere; water consumption that falls well below norms indoors (34 percent less) and outdoors (64 percent less); and a diversion plan that kept 95 percent of construction waste out of the landfill.

“Attaining LEED platinum is a result of much planning and collaboration,” Sheehan said. “The project team and university partnered strongly to hit this mark.”

He cited Tercero 3’s heating mechanism as a prime example of departments’ working together for sustainability. The system begins at the central steam plant, where a condensing economizer captures water vapor that formerly escaped through the boiler stacks.

The condensing economizer “wrings” energy from the vapor through heat exchange (in which heat transfers from the vapor to cooler water in three coiled pipelines). Two of those pipelines supply preheated water to the plant’s boilers, to make more steam.

The third pipe is a closed loop between the steam plant and the nearby Tercero 3 — where the water goes through another round of heat exchange, this time from the water in the closed loop to fresh water for the sinks and showers, and to the water supply for each building’s space heating system (in which fans blow air through pipelines of heated water).

Read more in “Tercero 3: Our most sustainable residence halls yet.”

Tercero 3’s platinum status is a “group certification” (for all seven buildings) in LEED’s Building Design and Construction category, formerly known as New Construction and Major Renovations.

Student Housing now has two LEED-platinum projects among seven overall for UC Davis:

  • Tercero Phase 3 residence halls
  • Segundo Services Center (in the Segundo housing area)
  • Student Community Center
  • Teaching and Research Winery, and the August A. Busch III Brewing and Food Science Laboratory
  • Gallagher Hall (Graduate School of Management) and UC Davis Conference Center
  • Valley Hall (School of Veterinary Medicine)
  • Tahoe Center for Environmental Sciences

Read more about UC Davis’ Green Building Ratings.

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Media Resources

Dave Jones, Dateline, 530-752-6556, dljones@ucdavis.edu

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