California State University Long Beach (CSULB) is setting the bar for campus buildings that serve the health of students and staff as well as the environment. The most recent student housing, completed by McCarthy Building Company in collaboration with architectural firm Gensler, is in the process of achieving LEED certification and contributes to the university’s goal to have the entire campus reach net-zero status by 2030.

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A multi-level apartment complex with a white facade punctuated by windows and a stairwell.

Students will move into Parkside North Housing, CSULB’s first new dormitory in 34 years, for the 2021-2022 school year. The four-story, 472-bed dormitory is only the third project in California to receive this level of sustainability (Living Building Challenge certified) and 23rd in the world. We can expect to see more in the future with the goals set by the California State University, which requires all new buildings and renovations to be at least LEED Silver certified.

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A courtyard with palm trees surrounded by a building with an orange facade.

McCarthy, named a top-20 green builder in the country, is well-versed in developments centered around green design. The CSULB project incorporates the newest technologies to optimize energy efficiency, seeking to earn LEED Platinum and Living Building Challenge certifications. 

An outdoor lounge area with yellow umbrellas and a green hammock.

The sustainable systems in the building have led to the CSU system’s first net-zero energy residential building. This means the building produces as much energy as it uses, achieved through solar panels on the roof. In addition, it reclaims rainwater for reuse. For materials selection, each item was vetted using the Red List, which identifies chemicals of concern. All materials were sourced within 500 miles of campus, in an area of the country with stringent building and manufacturing regulations. 

A lounge room with an orange sofa, blue ottomans, green chairs and a TV stand.

The team also made changes to the Housing Administration Office, another building on campus. With the completion of these projects, CSULB hopes to achieve a total of eight LEED certifications.  

A kitchen area with steel appliances, white countertops and a blue and orange backsplash.

“We’re honored to provide the students at CSULB with a state-of-the-art residential facility, delivering a renewed sense of comfort on campus. As they embark on the upcoming school year, they should feel proud their campus is home to the third most sustainable building in the state of California and 23rd in the world!” said Nate Ray, McCarthy Southern California project director. “The Parkside North Housing residence hall will be a north star for campuses across the nation, and specifically within the Cal State System.”

+ McCarthy Builders

Images via McCarthy Builders