Long Beach State is home to the first net-zero energy structure in the Cal State University system following the completion of the College of Continuing and Professional Education building, according to Director of Design and Construction Services Mark Zakhour.
The $32 million project, which has the capability of reducing energy use, was completed at the start of the fall semester after 18 months, according to a fact sheet about the new building.
“It can be a little more costly but in the long run that cost is re-cooped by less of a utility bill,” said Jeet Joshee, the associate vice president for International Education and dean of the CCPE.
The building will produce enough renewable energy to compensate for the resources it consumes annually, resulting in a net-zero energy consumption, Zakhour said.
It includes manually operable windows and shades on two sides of every classroom, radiant slab heating/cooling system and an LED light system. These features will help with the building’s energy efficiency.
The building will contribute directly to goals set by LBSU, the CSU system and the state of California.
In 2014, the college adopted a Climate Action Plan to achieve climate neutrality, or net zero greenhouse gas emissions, by 2030.
Close to a quarter of the campus’ greenhouse gas emissions come from purchased electricity. According to the CCPE fact sheet, having the new building run solely on renewable energy will reduce emissions.
Joshee said he believes this building does more than just provide classrooms.
“When I first saw the students and staff enjoying the space I thought ‘what a benefit this building is for the University,’” Joshee said. “We wanted to create a learning environment both in and outside [of the building].”
Right outside of the building is a courtyard that features a seating area and power outlets for charging devices.
Location plans changed for the building, which led to its current location next to the Social Sciences and Public Affairs building, because the property near the foundation was “not state of California property. It was city of Long Beach property,” Zakhour said.
The lack of control over the property led to an impasse with the city when it came to providing more parking to accommodate the building.
While the new building was under construction, CCPE classes were held in the University Foundation Building, among other locations on and off campus. The new building covers 34,000 square feet and stands three stories tall. There are 20 classrooms and a conference center, which is available for other campus events when it’s not being used by the department.
“The building has been visioned for a long time,” Zakhour said. “We probably [have] been talking about it for over five years. We originally were going to build the building (located on State University Drive) next to the foundation a couple of years ago.”