UC Merced said its Long Range Development Plan (LRDP) was named the Outstanding Planning Document of 2009 by the Association of Environmental Professionals.
AEP, a statewide organization focusing on environmental science, regulation and policy, presented the award to UC Merced at its annual conference in Palm Springs on March 16.
The award followed a California Institute for Energy and Environment report that shows UC Merced meeting or exceeding aggressive benchmarks for sustainable construction in its Classroom and Office Building and Science and Engineering Building.
Also, in January, the National Renewable Energy Lab listed UC Merced as a leading example of effective land use planning with respect to energy conservation and employment of renewable energy in long-range and climate-action planning, the university said in a news release.
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LRDP is a guide for future land use patterns and the development of facilities, residence halls, roads, bicycle paths, open space and infrastructure on the UC Merced campus. The plan features a high-density, pedestrian-friendly layout covering 815 acres and serving 25,000 students at its final build-out in 30 years.
"The plan boldly incorporates sustainable planning and design concepts to integrate land use, circulation and open space systems," the AEP jury stated in its comments.
UC Merced's LRDP, adopted by the UC Board of Regents in March 2009, outlines sustainability goals. Chief among them is the requirement that all new buildings be LEED Gold certified or better and the "Triple Zero Commitment" to produce as much energy as is used, eliminate landfill waste and produce zero net greenhouse gas emissions, all by 2020, the release continued.
It was the second major award for UC Merced's LRDP. Last fall, the university received the Governor's Environmental and Economic Leadership Award.
"We are excited UC Merced is achieving recognition for its long-range plan to build a sustainable campus," Principal Planner Richard Cummings said.