Mike Smith

Mike Smith, director of design and construction, right, with Ernest F. Crangle of HOK Architects at the December topping off ceremony for Mihaylo Hall.

Working To Build More Ecologically Friendly Campuses

Mike Smith, director of design and construction, serves on the CSU Sustainability Task Force team

February 5, 2007

By Pamela McLaren

When Mike Smith goes to fill up his hybrid vehicle’s gas tank, watches water run over a sidewalk and into storm drains or sees unnecessary use of electricity, he mentally notches up the cost of energy for the world.

It’s what serving on the CSU Sustainability Task Force team will do for a university director of design and construction.

On Aug. 6, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed, signed an executive order establishing energy conservation, sustainable building practices and physical plant management for the system.

The order sets a five-year goal of reducing energy consumption by 15 percent, procuring 20 percent of electricity needs from renewable sources and seeing that all future construction, remodeling, renovation and repair projects are designed “with consideration of optimum energy utilization, low-life cycle operating costs and compliance with all applicable energy codes and regulations.

One of the results of the executive order is the establishment of a task force on which Smith serves. That task force is currently working on developing the “CSU Sustainability Measurement System.”

The CSU system, said Smith, will be based on the U.S. Green Building Council Leed (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) system. That program measures a building by its energy use performance and sustainable building materials, based on a point system, such as for drought-tolerant landscaping and efficient irrigation, optimized energy performance, waste management and renewable or environmentally safe materials. The system even looks at whether a building uses natural light, if it’s close to public transportation and has bike racks, he said.

Smith noted that the CSU system would establish a baseline of LEED items that will always be done, a level of points to reach with each construction project. The goal for the system, he added, is for each campus to strive to meet the “silver” level within project budget constraints.

“It’s a continuation of the CSU efforts on energy efficiency,” said Smith, who has served on campus since 1992. “It’s not just saving kilowatts but using smart technology and recycled and recyclable materials when we can.

“It’s working with what’s out there so that we don’t deplete Mother Nature,” added Smith, who holds a bachelor’s degree in environmental design, as well as a master’s in architecture, from UC Berkeley. “It may sound corny but its not. Some things, such as oil, once its drilled, are gone. So we have to make an effort to use materials that can be replenished.”
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