California State University, Long Beach
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Horn Center Awarded LEED Gold Status By Green Building Council

Published: July 1, 2013

The Steve and Nini Horn Center at CSULB was recently awarded certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). As part of the USGBC, the LEED green building program provides third-party verification of green buildings and is the most widely recognized and used program of its kind throughout the world, having transformed buildings, homes and communities in all 50 U.S. states and 135 countries.

“This is a real recognition of the work we’ve done and the focus we have when it comes to achieving sustainability on this campus,” said Paul Wingco, CSULB’s energy and sustainability manager. “This award is the result of the work done by many individuals and something we should all be very proud of.”

Utilizing the LEED standard for existing buildings operations and maintenance, the Horn Center earned the second highest designation. It did so by incorporating policies and procedures so the building is maintained and operated as most energy and water efficient, utilizing environmentally sound cleaning practices, minimizing solid waste through the campus recycling and waste management program, ensuring a healthy indoor environment through an air quality management program, and a building exterior maintenance program that incorporates reclaimed water for irrigation and low environmental impact landscape practice.

As part of LEED certification, a comprehensive solid waste audit was performed to evaluate the type and quantity of solid waste generated in the Horn Center and to identify any opportunities to reduce landfill waste through recycling. The campus has a fully matured recycling program and a solid waste policy that is in place in the center that requires 100 percent recycling of all mercury-containing bulbs, on-going consumables, durable goods, and recycling of waste from all construction-related activities. This policy and practice is responsible for the successful diversion of 80 percent of campus-generated waste that would have otherwise gone to the landfill.

Following the lead of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center (SRWC) on campus, the Horn Center’s green building certification makes it only the second CSULB building to be certified as such and establishes the benchmark for sustainable building operation and maintenance that will eventually be applied to all campus buildings.

Among the listing of green features throughout the Horn Center are an environmentally sensitive, low-impact building exterior and hardscape management plan put in place during the green building certification period. The plan utilizes maintenance equipment, exterior building cleaning procedures, low volatile organic compounds, South Coast Air Quality Management District compliant paints and sealants, and an integrated pest management plan that minimizes the use and exposure to chemicals.

The Horn Center also addresses water conservation with specially designed urinals in the center which can save up to 40,000 gallons per year. In addition, the landscape area around the Horn Center is irrigated by reclaimed water which has a lower carbon footprint because it’s being recycled and does not undergo energy-intensive water treatment. The center also has a weather-based smart irrigation controller that ensures optimum watering amounts based on soil moisture, weather and evaporation rates.

Horn Center Building
The Steve and Nini Horn Center.

Additionally, the Horn Center is the first building on campus to be certified as an Energy Star building, recognized for exceptional energy performance with the center consuming 40 percent less energy compared to the national average of comparable buildings. To achieve this status, the center has undergone several energy efficiency retrofit projects including new energy-efficient lighting and controls, a complete monitoring-based retro-commissioning of the building heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system, and implementation of a full-energy-performance monitoring program.

The center has in place a plan to reduce the environmental impacts of materials acquired for use in its operations, maintenance and upgrade of the building, an environmentally preferable purchasing policy to monitor and encourage the purchase of sustainable products for ongoing consumables, and reduced mercury lamps purchased for the building.

The Horn Center is also part of the campus-developed green cleaning program, which reduces the exposure of building occupants and maintenance personnel to potentially hazardous chemicals, biological and particulate contaminants which adversely affect air quality, human health, building finishes, building systems and the environment. The plan consists of standard operating procedures for addressing how to effectively clean the building using a system of strategies, techniques, equipment and environmentally safe cleaning products—key features aimed at protecting building occupants and preserving a healthy indoor environment.

“Green building construction and sustainable operations are what we are trying to achieve for campus sustainability,” said Wingco. “Although the majority of the changes made to the building operation are invisible to the everyday user, people can rest assured that the maintenance and operation of the Horn Center and other green buildings on campus will positively affect both people and the environment.”

To learn more about the Horn Center’s green features, visit

–Shayne Schroeder