Aztec Recreation Center - LEED EBOM Gold
Associated Students of San Diego State University

The Aztec Recreation Center (ARC) at San Diego State University is a 76,000 SF full-service gymnasium and student recreation center located on the San Diego State University campus and operated by SDSU Associated Students (AS).  The building is a central hub on the fitness-minded SDSU campus, serving over one thousand student, faculty and staff visitors each day for workouts, intramural games, classes, and other activities. Thanks to the commitment of the AS student leadership in passing a resolution that all Associated Students managed facilities achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB: O&M) silver certification or better by 2020, the building also has become a flagship of sustainable operations on campus.

The ARC features outstanding energy performance, including a roof-top solar array that provides much of the buildings’ electricity without carbon emissions, as well as cutting-edge sustainability practices like water conserving fixtures, efficient lighting, and green cleaning.

Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power

Photo Credit: Sullivan Solar Power

The nature of the building itself – a recreation center receiving thousands of visitors each day over a 24-hour operating schedule, presented a number of challenges for LEED. Among these were finding comparable buildings for energy benchmarking, understanding water consumption patterns, and dealing with diverse occupancy types.  In order to achieve LEED certification, the Ackerstein Sustainability team collaborated with 10 other campuses in California to develop a database of recreation center energy data. That database was approved by GBCI for use for future projects, and represents a model for inter-campus collaboration in both benchmarking and LEED work.

Some of the sustainability highlights of the building include:

  • Alternative Transportation: SDSU documented a 50% reduction in conventional transportation for its staff and visitors coming to campus

  • Energy Performance: The ARC improved energy efficiency to a level nearly 40% better than peer facilities by retrocommissioning its HVAC system, installation of a cool white roof, efficient lighting, occupancy sensors, and increased vigilance by staff to cut plug load waste

  • Water Performance: The ARC achieved over 30% reduction in indoor water use from the LEED baseline through waterless urinals, and low flow shower heads

  • Renewable Energy: On-site, self-generated solar energy made up over 20% of energy used at the building and cut emissions by an equivalent amount.

  • Indoor Environmental Quality: Improved air flow and user’s comfort level, without increasing air conditioning, by installing two 24-foot fans above exercise rooms in the ARC

  • Materials and Resources: The ARC team replaced metal lockers with lockers made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled High Density Polythylene (i.e., recycled milk jugs), initiated use of 100% recycled office paper and installed waste-eliminating air hand dryers