The University of California, Irvine, has officially unveiled its newest student residence hall—named Plaza Verde (or Green Square in English) for its focus as a “green” community.
The Daily Pilot reports that the the five-story facility provides living space for 1,441 students.
Among its features: fitness centers, a multipurpose room, recreational lounges, a kitchen and cafe, all-electric outdoor grills,18 study rooms and a 15,000-square-foot community center. It also has 760 spaces for bicycles and a 523-space parking garage.
The project was done in partnership with American Campus Communities, a private developer of student housing.
“We believe this is the most sustainable large-scale student housing community in the nation," said Jason Wills, senior vice president of development at American Campus Communities.
Enrique Lavernia, university provost and executive vice chancellor, says the facility is the “greenest housing facility in the entire University of California system.”
“It’s powered by solar panels on the parking structure, and it has amazing sustainable attributes such as native drought-tolerant landscaping that uses recycled water,” Lavernia says. “Water-conserving water fixtures [keep] water usage down by 50%, and an all-electric system [makes] appliances a lot more energy-efficient.”
The project was designed and built to achieve LEED platinum certification.
The university says building the facility was motivated primarily by demand for affordable student housing.
In April, a report commissioned by the Associated Students of UC Irvine found that 8% of 2,017 UCI students surveyed had experienced housing insecurity at some point in college and that 30% reported overcrowded housing.
Randy Yan, president of the Associated Students of UC Irvine, says increasing affordable student housing was a priority for the organization and that the opening of Plaza Verde is a “big leap forward.”
Completion of Plaza Verde, along with the recent expansion of student housing in Middle Earth Towers, provides housing for an estimated 46% of the university’s student body, a spokeswoman says.