Innovator Article

Gallagher Hall Going Solar
Sun Power Expected to Bring LEED Platinum Rating

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Sunshine will soon provide a boost of renewable energy to power the Graduate School of Management’s campus home, Maurice J. Gallagher, Jr. Hall, and the adjoining UC Davis Conference Center, helping to push the year-and-half-old ecofriendly buildings into the elite class of green construction.

The planned addition of a 102-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array atop the two buildings later this year is expected to earn the project Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) program, the national benchmark for the design, construction and operations of high-performance green buildings.

Gallagher Hall could become the first business school building in California to earn the Platinum seal of environmental sustainability.

UC Davis has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with Main Street Power Company of Colorado to install and operate the 144,000 kilowatt/hour solar system, according to Pablo Orozco, assistant director of engineering for project management at UC Davis. “This is localized power that is expected to produce about 15–20 percent of the building need,” Orozco explained. “We anticipate no opportunities to export this power elsewhere to campus because there will always be a base load in the building bigger than the solar power the system produces.”

The solar arrays are expected to contribute three additional points toward the Gallagher Hall/Conference Center LEED submission, pushing it past the 52-point threshold for a Platinum rating, according to Strachan Forgan, a principal at Sasaki of San Francisco, the lead architects on the project. Forgan said the U.S. Green Building Council is reviewing the submission with a final designation expected as early as mid-June.

“This is a great addition to our campus home, making Gallagher Hall the most green business school building in California,” said Dean Steven Currall. “It reflects the Graduate School of Management’s and UC Davis’ culture of environmental responsibility and our collective commitment to furthering the global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices.

“UC Davis is a pioneer in clean tech research and energy efficiency solutions, and this is yet another example of how such technologies are cutting our own dependency on fossil fuels,” Currall added.

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