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University Sows Seeds for New Bren Building
The Daily Nexus
Written by Rob Brown
April 20, 2000

UCSB ushered in a new era of environmental construction yesterday with the stroke of a shovel at the Bren School for Environmental Science & Management groundbreaking.

The building, located between the Biology II and Engineering buildings, is slated for completion in late 2001. It will house 82 graduate students and 21 doctoral students studying an interdisciplinary approach to the environment with specialists in various fields of study. The building is designed to be completely environmentally efficient, Bren School of Environmental Science & Management Dean Jeff Dozier said.

"[The building is] environmentally sensitive and sustainable," he said. "By that it means we try to make it less consumptive than any of the other buildings on campus."

The environmentally sensitive improvements include the use of reclaimed water for toilets and irrigation, ocean breezes for ventilation and air conditioning, and recycled products for the insulation, furniture, carpets and ceiling tiles. The $24 million project was funded by a $15 million donation from the Donald Bren Foundation, and $9 million from the state and private donors.

Congresswoman Lois Capps said she was excited about the school because it has the potential to play a crucial role in research projects like the Gaviota coast study. "Everywhere you look there is an opportunity to do things the right way," she said.

The office of Gov. Gray Davis commended the project, and the United States Green Building Council granted the Bren Building’s design a gold medal for achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). The building also received certificates of recognition from the California State Assembly, which have already allocated $1.5 million to outfit the building and staff.

Environmental Affairs Board Development Chair Morgan Bull said EAB members had hoped the building would meet even more stringent environmental standards.

"As a school of environmental management, one would assume that the Bren School would strive to set a precedent for proper green development. Their original plan and their final plan have both fallen dramatically short of anything like that."