UCSF Sustainability Stories



LivingGreen in Action:  The Aldea Center on Mount Sutro

Center inside

UCSF has made a commitment to construct all new buildings to the equivalent of LEED-NC (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design new construction) Silver Certification.  LEED is the nation’s preeminent sustainable design rating system for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.  One of the latest examples of UCSF’s commitment to green building is the Aldea Center, nestled upon Mount Sutro.  The Center brings together the best of green building and community building principles and offers the UCSF community an exciting new gathering space.
Bringing the Outside Inside

TreeBy rebuilding on the existing footprint of a previous building, the new center did not impact the unique, serene setting found on Mount Sutro.  It brings the outside inside by incorporating large windows that offer natural light and scenic views. Green aspects of the Center—reuse of the original redwood timber, materials made of recycled content, energy and water efficiency, natural drainage, green housekeeping, diversion of over 75% of the construction waste, use of renewable materials such as bamboo, solar panels on the roof, native landscaping and radiant floor heat—will all help the building gain LEED-NC Silver, or possibly even Gold, Certification.

The main meeting room is elevated off the ground, creating the feel of a tree house that offers the ambiance of the outdoors with the comforts of the indoors.  Downstairs, the outside meeting space offers a fully-covered open area with seats, a fireplace and heat lamps.

CenterThe Center offers UCSF Aldea housing tenants, UCSF community groups and neighborhood organizations the perfect opportunity to gather, dialogue and celebrate.  It is set up to host a variety of events such as retreats and team-building events, seminars, speakers, trainings, private parties and celebrations and community events.

It Takes a Village

WaterThe new center is a result of a community planning process that brought together key stakeholders, including the Mount Sutro Stewards, to be sure the Center would meet the needs of the surrounding community and not harm the ecology of the area.  Issues important to the community included development density, connectivity and protection of the existing trees.  The Center, which is one mile from Parnassus, is served by the UCSF shuttle.  Or, if you bike up the hill, they have put in a Global Tap Station, making it easy and convenient to fill up your water bottle!

Perfect Location for Your Next Green Event

BinsThe first step in holding a successful green event is finding the right facility, that offers recycling and composting.  At the Center, in addition to a catering kitchen, big screen television and wireless web connections you will find recycling and compost bins to make it easier to host a zero/low waste event.  For more tips on organizing a green event, click here.
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Writing and photos by Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact.