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Rec and Wellness Center wins national sustainability award

  • November 7, 2011

Cal State East Bay's mission of sustainability has again gained national attention as a result of the Hayward campus’ one-year old Recreation and Wellness Center. The center recently earned the 2011 Athletic Business Facility of Merit award from Athletic Business magazine for its environmentally sustainable qualities.

“It’s a great honor for (CSUEB) to win this award from a leading fitness and recreation magazine,” said Krista Smith, director of the RAW Center. Athletic Business is a national magazine dedicated to sports, fitness and recreation professionals.

In September, a panel of sports and recreation facility architects selected the 10 fitness facilities in the country demonstrating the greatest commitment to sustainability. Judges based their decision on each facility’s interior and exterior design, functional planning, site location and cost. The winners were announced on the magazine’s Web site, and the awards will be presented to the facility architects and owners at the Athletic Business Conference and Expo in Orlando, Florida Dec. 2. Each winner will be profiled in the December issue of the magazine.

Several environmentally-appropriate elements of the RAW Center, including its sloped roof, attracted the judges’ attention. The roof, built at an angle to promote rainwater capture, collects and drains to a bioswale located along the southeast corner of the building.  The plants filter out pollutants from the rainwater before it reaches the groundwater system.

The center’s aluminum perforated screen veil, located on its west and south walls, also was positively acknowledged by judges. Along with minimizing heat directed into the facility, the veil breaks up solar radiation and allows natural light to enter.

“The large, south-facing screen provides sun control while offering views to the wellness area and back out onto the campus and gives the building a strong identity,” Judge Tom Scarleta said. “The building utilizes very economical materials in a sophisticated manner.”

Conveniently located across from student housing and a close walk to academic buildings, the RAW Center’s location was emphasized by another judge.

“The building fits its site and the campus like a glove,” said Judge Mark Bodien about the location of the 54,000 square-foot center in relation to the campus. The RAW Center’s “energy- and resource-saving measures were carefully integrated into the bold, colorful design,” Bodien added.

Judges also took into account the facility’s western trombe wall and its ventilation system. A trombe wall absorbs solar energy through glass and releases it into the interior of a facility. Located on the outer side of the gymnasium and basketball court, the trombe wall faces the sun daily. The functioning area of the wall is separated into top and bottom halves. The upper half of the wall absorbs heat and sunlight through glass. The heat gets trapped in the gap between the glass and the building’s interior concrete. If temperatures inside the gymnasium drop, the captured heat from the sun can be dispersed into the gymnasium.

If interior temperature rises, cool air from outside enters through filtered louvers located at the bottom half of the trombe wall. As cool air enters the gymnasium, hot air rises and escapes through louvers located in the lobby and fans on the second floor ceiling. For further energy efficiency throughout winter, the Western trombe wall louvers are filled with hot water to heat the gymnasium during cold days. Only 30 percent of the RAW Center’s interior requires electricity for ventilation.

“The RAW has set the bar (for) how buildings should be constructed on campus from now on,” Smith said. “I’m glad that it is being well-recognized that East Bay is growing with the times.”

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