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New SDCC Campus is Earth Friendly

San Diego Community College's West City campus in Point Loma opens next month. On the eve of Earth Day, KPBS Environment Reporter Ed Joyce tells us the new facility is built with the three "R's" in mind: reduce, reuse, recycle.

The new campus includes features that save water and energy.

The parking lots are designed to keep storm water runoff from carrying harmful pollutants to the ocean.

Myrna Taylor is the project manager for Soltek Pacific, the main contractor.

We caught up with her as workers were smoothing over the concrete parking lot...which functions like a storm drain.

"They put down, they bring it down to grade. Taylor said. "Then we put a fiber-filter cloth down and then the inch-and-a-half rock goes down and then the porous concrete is so coarse that water flows into it; filters any debris out of it into the ground, and then the water sits there until it evaporates into the air."

She says the porous concrete used in the driveways and parking lots also prevents daytime heat absorption.

The two-story classroom building uses a cool roofing membrane that reflects rather than absorbs heat, which keeps the building cooler, reducing the need for air conditioning.

Ursula Kroemer with the community college district says there are even more environmentally-friendly features.

"We've got E-rated windows so we are very careful in terms of the light that reflects back out," Kroemer said. "We've got light sensors in here so if there's enough daylight coming from within we don't have artificial lights that go off. When the system detects that we need more artificial light they'll automatically - the sensors - will go on."

She says low-flow toilets and waterless urinals help reduce water consumption by about 40 percent.

Carpeting is made with a high percentage of recycled content and bathroom countertops are made of recycled newsprint.

Ed Joyce, KPBS News.