University of California Merced – Central Plant Complex

Certified LEED® Gold, this complex is at the core of an ambitious sustainability strategy for the University of California Merced. In addition to providing power and water, the 41,000-square-foot Central Plant Complex serves as a “living laboratory” for environmental science students.

The complex consists of three structures: a telecommunications hub, a two-story thermal energy storage tank, and a three-story plant that houses most of the university’s power and infrastructure operations. A thin veil of perforated metal clads the plant and masks the opaque areas of the building to permit light and views. Inside, interior functions are visible, enabling the building to be used as a pedagogical tool.

Master planned by SOM, the University of California Merced campus opened in 2005. Sustainability measures have resulted in energy savings of up to 50 percent per year.