Martinez Commons Award

LeNorman J. Strong, Associate Vice Chancellor, Residential and Student Service Programs (left), and Harry Le Grande, Vice Chancellor, Division of Student Affairs, receive the Savings By Design incentive award from Deb Affonsa, PG&E’s Vice President of Customer Service.

Photography: Peg Skorpinski

Student Affairs and RSSP Celebrate the Maximino Martinez Commons Incentive Award

By Roland Addad, Student Affairs Communications, October 13, 2014

Berkeley - The Division of Student Affairs and Residential and Student Service Programs recently received a $500,000 incentive award from Pacific Gas & Electric’s Savings By Design program for their efforts for building and maintaining Maximino Martinez Commons as a sustainable residence hall.  This is the largest such award received by the UC Berkeley campus to date, surpassing the $189,000 incentive award received by the campus’ Helios Energy Biosciences Building.

Designed by Behnisch Architects with executive oversight by EHDD Architecture, and landscaping by Andrea Cochran, the Martinez Commons residence hall is a six-story, 416-bed sophomore housing project completed in 2012. It was conceived as an energy saving building that included the use of daylight for lighting, natural ventilation, a nighttime cooling strategy, a hydronic and radiant heating system, and plumbing and water systems designed to reduce water use by 30%.

To achieve it’s LEED Gold rating, the design also incorporates water-saving native plants, reuses materials salvaged from the site, and creates a vegetated swale that captures and filters storm water runoff from the site.

Besides the building design, students themselves play a large part in upholding the University’s goals to reduce its carbon footprint, maintain sustainability, and achieve zero waste by the year 2020. Martinez Commons residents, like all students living in UC Berkeley housing, contribute to RSSP’s sustainability goals by their composting, recycling, and water-saving efforts.

Additionally, the Martinez Commons custodial staff uses green housekeeping supplies and procedures in accordance with the policies set by RSSP facilities management.

To mark the event, presenters included Andrea Shen, President, Residence Hall Assembly, LeNorman J. Strong, Associate Vice Chancellor, Residential and Student Service Programs, the Honorable Tom Bates, Mayor, City of Berkeley, and Harry Le Grande, Vice Chancellor, Division of Student Affairs. Lisa McNeilly, the Director of the Office of Sustainability and Energy, presented the LEED Gold Award to Chris Harvey, former Director of Capital Projects for RSSP, and Judy Chess, Assistant Director of Capital Projects, who received the award on behalf of the building.

Deb Affonsa, Vice President of Customer Service, from the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, was on hand along with her team of PG&E executives to present the Savings By Design Incentive Award to VC Le Grande and AVC Strong.

In her presentation, Ms. Affonsa cited that the savings realized by the energy-efficient Maximino Martinez Commons equated to the amount of electricity and natural gas used to power 70 homes for one year, and the CO2 saved is equivalent to taking 32 cars off the road annually.

During the event, a Sustainability Fair was held in the Martinez inner courtyard. Student groups presented their efforts in different aspects of UC Berkeley’s involvement in sustainability efforts, energy savings, recycling, composting, and student environmental awareness.

Included in the Fair were the Student Environmental Resource Center (SERC), ASUC Sustainability Team (STeam), PowerSave Campus, the Cal Dining Sustainability Team, and Campus Recycling and Refuse Services. The building features were explained by a student team from the Residential Sustainability Program, led by Jim DePianto, Construction Project Manager, Residential and Student Service Programs.

The celebration itself received a Green Certification from the Office of Sustainability.