American Campus Communities (NYSE: ACC) joined the University of California, Irvine (UCI) yesterday to officially mark the opening of Plaza Verde, a fresh and modern student community that offers an eco-friendly, living and learning environment conducive to achieving academic, professional, and personal success.
The new 1,441-bed, 5-story residential tower located at 15000 Arroyo Drive is a key milestone in large-scale, affordable green living as the all-electric community is designed to target UCI’s very first Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) operation as well as LEED Platinum certification. The building’s opening comes on the heels of UCI being ranked No. 1 in the nation by Sierra Magazine in its annual “Cool Schools” ranking of sustainability leaders among colleges and universities.
“Since 2004, UCI and American Campus Communities have partnered to create a supportive and sustainable living-meets-learning environment for UCI students,” said Dr. Enrique Lavernia, UCI provost and executive vice chancellor. “Our work at UCI has set a model for public-private partnerships as other universities have seen what we have done to transform UCI from a commuter campus to a campus where students can enjoy the benefits of the residential university experience.”
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes Design & Construction Multifamily Rating System was the initial framework for the project along with the University of California’s Carbon Neutrality policy to seek a ZNE operation. A planned 1.4-Megawatt photovoltaic array on two adjacent parking structures, when constructed, will allow the UCI Phase 4 Building A project to achieve net zero energy and be eligible for LEED Platinum certification.
“In addition to being a healthy and dynamic student community, Plaza Verde is the greenest large-scale student community that has been developed,” said Bill Bayless, American Campus Communities CEO. “We have gone to extensive lengths to ensure sustainability and student-focused design are at the forefront, from initially designing and testing systems for an efficient and comfortable community, then arranging a sizable offset for energy that will actually be achieved.”