SIZE: 215,000 SF
TYPE: Mixed-use (higher education housing with food service and retail)
LEED v2009 Platinum
University of California, Irvine (Owner)
Hensel Phelps (General Contractor)
MA Engineers (Mechanical and Plumbing Engineer)
Michael Wall Engineering (Electrical Engineer)
stok (Energy Consultant)
Strategy & Services: The Middle Earth Campus Expansion at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) is a 215,000 SF amenity-rich high-density housing development in the academic core of campus. Designed to help UCI achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2025, the project targeted LEED Platinum certification from the outset and 20% more efficient performance than the state’s aggressive Title 24 energy code. Led by design-build collaboration Mithun and Hensel Phelps Construction, stok was engaged by MA Engineers to provide energy modeling and guide the team through challenging LEED energy credits to achieve Platinum certification for this vibrant campus development.
Project Details: stok worked closely with UCI, Mithun, and MA Engineers to achieve the project’s energy goals. Already planning to use on-site photovoltaics (PV) and naturally ventilated corridors, the team relied on stok’s energy expertise to find the most cost-effective ways to achieve energy performance of 20% better than Title 24 code, which was needed to meet UCI’s ambitious goal.
stok took the lead on navigating the complex new CEC-provided Title 24-2016 code compliance software to provide clear and consistent guidance regarding the energy design. Remaining communicative with the project team while developing and troubleshooting the energy model, stok was able to lead the project beyond the 20% below code energy reduction goal through detailed HVAC modeling, highly efficient lighting design, and optimized building envelope to meet UCI’s requirement—an especially difficult feat given the challenge of significant energy reduction in a dormitory.
stok also led the pursuit and thorough documentation of all LEED Energy and Atmosphere credits for the project’s LEED Platinum certification, receiving no review comments from GBCI. The documentation of this naturally-ventilated building was made even more complex by the project’s connection to UCI’s highly-efficient cogen central plant.
Through high performance features including a 50 kW rooftop grid-connected PV system, rooftop solar hot water collectors, advanced HVAC design, LED lighting, natural ventilation, vegetative roofs, efficient plumbing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping with irrigation provided by reclaimed water, stormwater terraces, and recycled and FSC-certified construction materials, the project achieved:
• 68% energy cost savings for LEED
• 34% reduction below California’s strict Title 24-2016 energy code for UCI’s energy requirement and Savings By Design
• 40% above operable window area requirement for natural ventilation
• 40% domestic water savings
“stok’s technical expertise coupled with thorough knowledge of LEED and clear guidance on energy efficiency issues was a big help in reaching our internal UC energy goals as well as supporting our overall LEED Platinum effort.”
–Jim Wahlmeier, Mechanical Engineer, UC Irvine
Outcome: Completed in 2019 and officially certified LEED Platinum in 2020, the UCI Middle Earth Campus Expansion provides high-quality housing to over 500 students, as well as plentiful community space, a campus-wide dining facility, multi-purpose classrooms, and the new headquarters for the University’s housing administration. The development supports UCI’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2025 through strategies that reduce and offset energy consumption, as well as inspires students, faculty, and visitors to engage in sustainable practices in their daily lives.
Led by design-build team Mithun and Hensel Phelps Construction, the project received the Design Excellence Award and the Regional Award from the Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) 2020 Western Pacific Region Design-Build Awards.
And in case you’re still wondering, the name is meant to pay tribute to JRR Tolkien’s enduring stories and was selected when the campus was originally designed in the 1960s. Mount Doom Student Residences just didn’t have the same… ring to it.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of MA Engineers