The Tipton Meeting House at the University of California Sedgwick Natural Reserve has been designated one of the "greenest" buildings in the nation, earning LEED Platinum certification –– the highest sustainability rating possible –– from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
The newly constructed, privately funded visitor and education center is one of only four UC buildings, including UC Santa Barbara's Bren Hall, to have earned this distinction. The Tipton Meeting House received the maximum LEED design credits possible. Including Sedgwick, UCSB oversees seven of the 36 protected sites in the UC Natural Reserve System, the largest network of university-managed wildland preserves in the world.
"The Tipton Meeting House allows us to ‘walk the talk' regarding environmental stewardship in the University of California's Natural Reserve System," said Kate McCurdy, a conservation biologist and director of the Sedgwick Reserve. "Our tri-fold mission of research, education, and public service will be enhanced by the addition of the new building and all that it offers in energy conservation, a thoughtful design that melds beautifully with the Santa Ynez Valley's bucolic landscape, and 21st century technology in support of the scientific users of the reserve."
For the first time, Sedgwick has a central gathering place for its nearly 4,800 annual visitors, with indoor and outdoor classrooms for workshops, meetings, remote telescope presentations, and K-12 outreach activities. The single-story, 3,000-square-foot building also houses the reserve's administrative offices. There will be a formal dedication for the new facility later this month.
"Our campus is deeply grateful to our wonderful friends in the community, especially the Tipton Foundation, and to all of the building professionals who were involved in the planning and construction efforts, for their vision for the Tipton Meeting House at Sedgwick Reserve," said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. "The addition of the Tipton Meeting House to this magnificent site allows UC Santa Barbara to better serve the community we are part of. We are immensely proud to be a leader in sustainability research, and we are delighted by the LEED platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council."
The Tipton Meeting House was designed and built to have minimal impact on the land. It maximizes the use of local, natural, and recycled materials; harvests the sun, rain, and wind; and incorporates many sustainable design features, including a solar-power array and various architectural innovations that promote summer cooling and prevent winter heat loss. The building uses 60 percent less energy than conventional construction. The architect was Thompson Naylor Architects, Inc., of Santa Barbara.
LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency, emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources. UCSB is committed to ensuring that all new construction achieves LEED certification. The campus is also pursuing LEED certification for existing buildings by changing operations and maintenance procedures to meet green standards.
Jordan Sager, UCSB LEED program manager, added: "Sedgwick Reserve's new Tipton Meeting House is an outstanding example of an integrated approach to green building. The project's LEED Platinum certification is due to the dedication of some extremely talented planning, design, and construction professionals who made sustainability the driver of countless decisions, from Tipton's conceptualization to its completion."
Ron Cortez, UCSB associate vice chancellor for administrative services and co-chair of the campus sustainability committee, added: "The synergy developed from our campus community working together in such a positive manner will continue to foster similar sustainability projects in the future."
The Tipton Meeting House was funded by gifts from the Tipton Foundation of Santa Ynez and a bequest from UCSB alumnus Marvin Clarke. The nearly 5,900-acre Sedgwick Reserve offers educational programs and volunteer opportunities. It is open to the public on the second Saturday of each month for hikes and other activities. For more information, call (805) 686-1941 or visit: https://ucnrs.org.