Jacobs Hall

Jacobs Hall, platinum-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. (Photos by Tim Griffith)

Jacobs Hall ranks platinum for sustainability

Jacobs Hall, home of the College of Engineering’s Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation, has been lauded several times since its August 2015 opening for its sustainable design and construction. The building now has another major designation: Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, scores buildings on how well they meet various measures of sustainability. Platinum is the highest level of certification possible. Jacobs Hall is the first UC Berkeley facility to achieve platinum status.

Jacobs Hall classroom labClassrooms in Jacobs Hall include large operable windows and efficient lighting fixtures and controls.“From day one, we sought to make Jacobs Hall a paragon of sustainability — a core value here on the Berkeley campus,” said S. Shankar Sastry, dean of engineering. “Every decision about the building’s design, construction, materials and operation was made with the aim to support long-term environmental balance.”

Jacobs Hall was cited in particular for its energy-efficient design. The four-level, 24,000-square-foot building features solar panels that provide 60 percent of its energy. Large operable windows allow for natural ventilation and lighting.

Inside, ceiling fans provide comfort during warm weather, along with an intentionally undersized “bump cooling” unit that kicks in on the hottest days. Efficient hydronic radiators provide heat. The building’s design team also devised a creative solution to use surplus hot and chilled water from Soda Hall next door.

"We are thrilled that the U.S. Green Building Council has recognized Jacobs Hall as a truly sustainable home for design innovation on campus,” said Bjoern Hartmann, faculty director of the Jacobs Institute for Design Innovation. “As our students learn about responsible and impactful design, it is inspiring for them to do so in a space that exemplifies these values.”

The Jacobs Institute offers classes, space, software and equipment for students and other makers interested in creative problem-solving through design and fabrication. The institute served more than 1,500 Berkeley students over the fall 2016 semester.

Jacobs Hall from aboveRooftop solar panels and shading panels over windows helped Jacobs Hall achieve LEED platinum certification. (Photo by Ryan Jang)Jacobs Hall’s exterior features shading panels tailored to the south, east and west exposures, with high-performance window glass and cool roofing. Although relatively bright lighting is required for Jacobs Hall’s maker spaces, efficient fixtures and controls help to manage lighting energy use.

Building materials are recycled, renewable and regionally sourced to reduce carbon footprints associated with shipping. No parking was added for the project, except for two handicap-accessible spaces.

Indoor water use is 40 percent below the LEED baseline. Outside, roof runoff is absorbed by filtering rain gardens. Drought-tolerant landscaping reduces irrigation needs by 50 percent.

Not only do LEED-certified buildings reduce greenhouse gas emissions; they also save money. In its first five months of operation, Jacobs Hall used 65 percent less energy compared to conventional buildings — a savings of $41,000.

The campus partnered with architects Leddy Maytum Stacy and general contractor Hathaway Dinwiddie on the project.

Topics: Berkeley Engineering in the News, College news, Design, Energy, Environment, Honors & awards