Office of the President

September 28, 2017 – Climate Goals for the Science Replacement Building Project

To: Campus Community

From: President Gayle E. Hutchinson

As CSU, Chico designs and builds its new science building, we are taking numerous actions to ensure that we continue our long-standing commitment to sustainability. CSU, Chico is a charter signatory of the Presidents’ Climate Commitment (PDF), and we remain committed to achieving carbon neutrality. To this end, the campus has set aggressive whole-building performance targets for the new science building project for both energy efficiency and greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions.

Laboratory buildings typically use up to five-times more energy than general purpose office and classroom buildings. While the State Building Code does not specifically address energy efficiency nor does it require GHG emissions reductions in laboratory buildings, CSU, Chico’s commitment to sustainability is a priority.

Because the building design process is still in the early phases, we have identified both target and stretch target goals, as compared to a Benchmark building (minimum code compliant laboratory building). The building committee, in conjunction with the Design & Construction team, have committed to the targets summarized in Table 1 and Figure 1 below.

Additionally, due to changing programmatic needs, CSU, Chico has made the decision to remove the vivarium from the new building. This program element may be addressed in a future laboratory building. The building space freed by the removal of the vivarium will be dedicated to the College of Natural Sciences to accommodate college growth, and ensure capacity to meet the sustainability teaching obligations of the Climate Commitment. Also, since vivarium spaces are energy-intensive, the removal will further decrease the building’s GHG emissions another 10%.

Table 1. Whole Building Performance Targets

Performance TargetBenchmarkTargetStretch Target


130 kBtu/SF-yr

~21-38% reduction

80-100 kBtu/SF-yr


~38-58% reduction

55-80 kBtu/SF-yr

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

1.47 million lbs


~22-42% reduction

860,000 – 1.15 million lbs CO2/yr


~42-60% reduction

584,000 – 860,000 lbs CO2/yr

LEED Rating


LEED Silver


Bar graph: Greenhouse Gas Emissions on y-axis, Benchmark, Target and Stretch Target on x-axis

Figure 1. Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets for New Science Building

Table 1 & Figure 1. Annual Greenhouse Gas Emissions Targets for the New Science Building. A Benchmark building will release up to 1.47 million pounds of CO2/year. The Target and Stretch Targets reduce the building’s GHG emissions from electricity and natural gas consumption anywhere from 22% to 60% annually.