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Rec Center at UC Santa Barbara Goes for Zero Net Energy

February 23, 2011 |
Drew Ballensky

Although transforming an energy hog into a LEED-EB Silver facility was a notable accomplishment, the University of California, Santa Barbara wants to go even greener with its recreation center. The three-building facility was recently chosen as a “Zero Net Energy Demonstration Showcase” project [] for sustainability by Southern California Edison.

The utility will perform an energy efficiency analysis of the Recreation Center and provide recommendations for achieving Zero Net Energy (ZNE) or near-ZNE performance. UCSB will then purchase and install the recommended solutions with assistance from available incentive and rebate programs.
After a retrofit, the rec center received a LEED Silver Existing Building (EB) Certification, the first university recreation center in the US to receive such a distinction, in 2008. The facility was not originally designed for energy efficiency, but retrofitting has made a huge impact.

Energy efficiency measures have included:
• 155-kilowatt rooftop photovoltaic array that generates about 68 percent of the building’s electricity every year
• Inefficient lights in administrative offices and classrooms were replaced with T8 fluorescent lights that use about half the electricity
• LED lights installed on every desk
• Five exercise bicycles generate electricity for the facility

Major hurdles must be overcome to reach the zero net energy goal including finding money to add solar panels to preheat the water in two pools, and replacing 250 old, inefficient lights in two gyms.

Drew Ballensky | Reconstruction Blog

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

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