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SCU celebrates opening of new "green" building

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Straw bales and blue jeans may not be what first come to mind when thinking about the construction of a new university building, but they are two of the sustainable materials featured in the Commons on Kennedy Mall, Santa Clara University’s first “green” building. SCU is celebrating the opening of the Commons with a dedication ceremony Saturday, Feb. 25 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Santa Clara University.

The Commons houses state-of-the-art classrooms and meeting rooms and features a floor-to-rooftop eco-friendly design. Succulent plants cover the roof, providing natural insulation; straw bales and blue jeans are stuffed into the walls, also for insulation; and a ground water cooling system reduces the need for mechanical cooling, resulting in the emission of fewer greenhouse gases. “The Commons is a unique educational opportunity for students to experience sustainability in action and a valuable addition to Santa Clara’s learning environment,” said Joe Sugg, assistant vice president of university operations.

The Commons is designed as a demonstration building and will be used to evaluate sustainable building techniques that may be used in upcoming campus projects. SCU has created an interactive Web site that explains the features of the new building and takes visitors on a virtual tour:

Schedule of events:

When: Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006

1:30 - 3:30 p.m.: Open House

2 p.m.: Dedication Ceremony

Where: Santa Clara University

            500 El Camino Real

            Santa Clara, CA95053

About Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its 8,397 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering, plus master’s and law degrees. Distinguished nationally by the third-highest graduation rate among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. More information is online at


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