Soka University of America’s new Soka Performing Arts Center and Academic Building project, which opened in September 2011, recently received Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). The Soka Performing Arts Center, which is located on 1.9 acres of the Soka University campus in Aliso Viejo, serves as a venue in South Orange County for concerts, theater productions, lectures and assemblies, furthering Soka University’s role as a cultural center and community gathering place.
“One of Soka University’s guiding principals is to foster leaders for the creative coexistence of nature and humanity, and the Soka Performing Arts Center project demonstrates this socially responsible ideal to our students,” said Arch Asawa, Soka University’s Vice President for Finance and Administration and CFO. “We deeply appreciate the project team for helping us meet our objective to create a world-class LEED Gold Certified facility.”
McCarthy served as general contractor and Zimmer Gunsul Frasca was the architect for the $73 million project, which included construction of a three-level, 47,836-square-foot Soka Performing Arts Center housing a reception lobby, various support spaces and a 1,000-seat auditorium. McCarthy also built a 48,974-square-footAcademicBuildingwhich is located next to and provides support for the Soka Performing Arts Center. The new four-level academic building houses 11 classrooms, 29 faculty offices, a 150-seat black box theater, four dressing rooms, a rehearsal/dance studio, musician warm-up spaces and other support areas.
To successfully address the LEED aspects of the project, the design and construction team employed 15 LEED accredited professionals, and McCarthy used sustainable construction methods throughout the project. These included: recycling approximately 75 percent of construction waste; maintaining proper indoor air quality; utilizing local labor and ensuring that the subcontractors install the specified “green” materials.
Likewise, the design of these structures incorporates numerous sustainable and energy efficiency solutions. TheSokaPerformingArtsCenterand theAcademicBuildingboth have a green roof and solar panels. The green roof holds three to four inches of soil filled with succulent plants providing sound insulation as well as insulation for heating and cooling. It also absorbs rain water to filter it before it goes into theWoodCanyonwatershed, and it converts carbon dioxide to oxygen. Additionally, a bioswale was built to help manage storm water runoff.
In order to create a space large enough for the green roof with a combination of vegetation and photovoltaic panels arrays as part of the sunshades, the project’s electrical contractor utilized design/build delivery to meet the project’s complex electrical needs. BIM 3D modeling was implemented to successfully coordinate paths and spacing requirements and to improved collaboration with all of the MEP trades. Furthermore, energy modeling simulations were performed, which showed an overall energy cost savings of about 25% over the baseline. To that end, the 140 kW photovoltaic system generates an estimated 15% of the energy needed.
Further energy efficiency solutions included operable windows for climate control in the academic building as well as sensor-controlled lights that turn themselves off in unused rooms. Automatic daylight responsive dimmable lighting controls were installed in all classrooms and both black-box and the Center’s lobbies. A displacement ventilation system was utilized to supply cooler air near the floor, pushing warmer air away from occupants in academic and performance hall spaces.
The Soka Performing Arts Center’s exterior features a glass sunshade structure with 570 panes of laminated safety glass to permit visibility, yet diffuse light and reduce solar heat-gain in the large, all glass lobby. The performance hall also features adjustable floor diffusers below most seats, allowing audience members to adjust airflow. Water-saving features employed include low-flow water fixtures and high-efficiency instantaneous gas water heaters.
Other project team members included Program Manager R.W. Buck and Associates of Rancho Santa Margarita; JAMA of Los Angeles, structural engineer; RBF of Irvine, civil engineer; Syska of Los Angeles, electrical and mechanical engineer; and SWA of Laguna Beach, landscape architect.
“TheSokaUniversityproject team was focused on sustainability from day one and worked hard to make this goal a reality,” explained McCarthy Executive Vice President Mark Mardock. “McCarthy continues to position ourselves as a leader in green construction, and this project is an outstanding example. With this latest certification, McCarthy now has 10 LEED Gold projects on our resume, with more than 20 in the works. In total, McCarthy has completed or underway more than $7 billion in sustainable projects overall.”
McCarthy (mccarthy.com) is one of America’s oldest and largest privately held commercial construction companies. More than a decade ago, McCarthy formalized a national in-house green knowledge network to capture and build upon the best green practices across the country. Today, the McCarthy Green Team is comprised of approximately 400 USGBC LEED Accredited Professionals (ranking the company in the top 10 for LEED AP’s by Building Design and Construction and among the nation’s Top 20 Green Construction Companies in America by Engineering News-Record). McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned.