Bastrop, Hays counties adopt (LEED) ACC campuses

Story and photos by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

Graphics courtesy of ACC

Courtesy of ACC






Two new campuses are on track to serve the areas annexed into the Austin Community College District during the November 2010 elections. Both the Elgin and Hays campuses are the first community colleges in their counties (Bastrop and Hays), and both are being built to meet a minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard of silver.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system which identifies and implements green building design, construction, operations and maintenance practices. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — certified, silver, gold and platinum according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Each rating corresponds to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Professor Dan Dewberry who teaches the Sustainable/Green Business course explained why ACC would want its new campuses to receive LEED rating of silver.

“In the long run, businesses lower costs by conserving energy. More efficient cooling devices along with smart windows and architectural designs can have a significant impact on reducing energy costs,” Dewberry said. “Instead of building new power plants, ACC and the community can grow yet use the same amount of energy. ”

Pam Collier, the project manager of the Elgin campus, said the project is on schedule and on budget and the brick for the outside of the building is being purchased from local brick manufacturer.

Dewey said, “Purchasing local raw materials reduces air pollution from shipping goods. And supporting local business means that the revenue earned will more likely be spent in Central Texas, benefiting the economy of the community.”

Andy Kim, facilities manager for the new campuses, said that purchasing raw materials locally also increases ACC’s LEED points.

The architect for the Elgin project, O’Connell Robertson, designed the Elgin campus to take on the look and feel of the city of Elgin, combining the old city look with the new building feel.

The campus will have water efficient plumbing fixtures, including dual flushing toilets, water saving faucet fixtures and water efficient landscaping. Rain water will be collected and used for irrigation.

The campus will have energy efficient LED outdoor lighting, and energy efficient florescent and LED lighting indoors. LED lighting has become more affordable and is now made to be dimmable. Running the light at a reduced power lengthens the life of the bulb, Kim said. The campus will also have solar panels that are tied back to the grid to reduce the campus consumption of power.

The Hays Campus had its ground breaking ceremony on June 27, 2012, and the design of the campus is complete. ACC signed a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contract with the building project manager, Flintco and a notice to proceed will be issued as soon as the Plum Creek Architecture Review Committee approves the project and the site development permit is secured from the city of Kyle.

The proposed master plan for the campus has four phases with a total of 10 buildings. The first phase will be one of the buildings and the infrastructure of the campus. The site is adjacent to a future commuter rail line, with easy access to I-35.

Both campuses will embrace energy conservation and green living with extensive recycling programs.

The restrooms will have high velocity hand driers to reduce the paper waste and save energy from the batteries required to run the paper dispensers.

Five percent of the parking spaces will be dedicated to green car parking, and some spaces will be used for carpools during high demand hours. Bike racks will also be installed to promote bicycling to campus.

As part of the LEED certification, the campuses are designed for heat island effect, in which the ambient air of built-up areas can be about 20 degrees hotter than in nearby rural areas.

As a solution, light reflective surfaces like concrete will be used for the parking lots and rooftops as opposed to asphalt which is a light absorbing material.

The Elgin Campus is expected to open in fall 2013, and the Hays Campus in spring 2014. The campuses are initially expected to house classes for 1,500 students.

For more information visit austincc. edu/sustainability.