University News

UCLA dedicates La Kretz Hall, the first campus building to qualify for ‘Green’ certification

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UCLA has opened La Kretz Hall, the campus’ newest structure and the university’s first building to be certified “green” — a structure that meets stringent environmental guidelines.

La Kretz Hall — a three-story, 20,000-square-foot structure created for undergraduate instruction, academic conferences and offices for the university’s Institute of the Environment — will be the first building at UCLA to receive accreditation under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, which recognizes buildings that meet strict environmental criteria.

The structure was built through the support of alumnus Morton La Kretz, the principal contributor to the $8.5 million project.

“La Kretz Hall was possible because of Morton’s generosity, interest in environmental issues, and dedication to UCLA,” said UCLA Chancellor Albert Carnesale. “The building will become not only the legacy of a loyal alumnus, but also a visible reminder of UCLA’s ongoing efforts toward sustainability.”

La Kretz Hall will house several research and teaching programs, and will serve as a hub for undergraduate instruction. Construction began in October 2003, and the building was formally dedicated on June 10. Faculty and staff will begin to occupy the building this month, and the first classes will be held there when the fall academic term begins in September.

“By creating La Kretz Hall with such a thoughtful approach to construction that ensures its ‘green’ status, the building is a major step in our long-range commitment to environmental planning,” said Patricia O’Brien, executive dean of the UCLA College.

La Kretz Hall was built with rapidly renewable and low-emitting materials, operable windows and low energy consumption. The facility’s mechanical systems have sensors to measure and verify carbon dioxide content and overall air quality, providing a better working environment and lowering energy consumption. Photovoltaic panels are included in the plan to provide a renewable source of energy. A displacement air system will further reduce electricity usage.

La Kretz Hall was constructed on top of an existing 5-million gallon tank that supplies chilled water to UCLA’s air conditioning systems. Stacking the new construction above an existing structure allowed the university to save valuable land space and avoid the environmental impact of developing a new site.

Designed by the Smith Group architectural firm and constructed by West Coast Nielsen, La Kretz Hall will provide classrooms for undergraduate education and distance learning, office space, and facilities for academic conferences. A conference center on the first floor includes a 350-seat auditorium, two 20-seat breakout seminar rooms and a 45-seat classroom that can be equipped for distance-learning classes.

The third floor will house the offices of the Institute of the Environment (IOE), which uses interdisciplinary research, teaching and public service programs to generate knowledge and propose solutions for pressing environmental challenges. In keeping with the ideal of “buildings that teach,” La Kretz Hall sets a model of sustainability for future projects on campus.

“The UCLA Institute of the Environment brings together faculty members from across campus to examine environmental issues such as air and water quality and land use, so it’s only natural that the IOE makes a home in a building with environmentally conscious features,” director Mary D. Nichols said.

Constructed in the comprehensive redevelopment in the southern half of the Court of Sciences on the UCLA campus, La Kretz Hall is part of an aggressive $300 million building program that also includes the Neurosciences Building, the California NanoSystems Institute (to the north of La Kretz Hall) and the Orthopaedic Hospital Research Laboratories/School of Medicine Replacement Building No. 2.

UCLA has long been committed to environmentally conscious practices, including campuswide recycling programs, national leadership in ridesharing, and water and energy conservation. Campus leadership, working together with students and faculty, are developing an action-through-education campaign to further strengthen its environmental practices.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings.

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