UC Irvine Opens Latest Green Student Housing

The news comes a month after the university opened a new addition to its “Middle Earth” community.
Plaza Verde. Image courtesy of ACC.

Student housing developer American Campus Communities (ACC) and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) have opened Plaza Verde, a 1,441-bed eco-friendly community designed to be LEED Platinum and zero-net energy. The development marks the seventh project within the University of California system for ACC.

The opening comes on the heels of last month’s opening of two additional residential towers within the “Middle Earth” student housing community on the UCI campus. The LEED Platinum, energy-efficient properties tie into the university’s goal of having a carbon-neutral campus by 2025.


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Bill Bayless, CEO of American Campus Communities, said in a release announcing the opening that Plaza Verde is the “greenest” large-scale student community ever developed.

Plaza Verde is a five-story residential tower situated at 15000 Arroyo Drive in Irvine, Calif., in the heart of the UCI campus. Designed to be sustainable as well as affordable for students, the project totals 568,930 square feet and includes a structured parking garage with 523 spaces as well as a 15,000-square-foot community center. The location offers easy access to public transit, including several bus lines.

The community was built with an all-electric system that eliminates the need for natural gas, instead using heat pump water heaters and an electric outdoor grill system. The property features a unit mix of one-, two- and four-bedroom units featuring private bedrooms and bathrooms, low-flow plumbing fixtures, energy efficient heating and cooling systems, a white reflective TPO roof and an on-site recycling center.

Other sustainable design elements of the building include eco-friendly building materials, highly efficient ventilation, carbon monoxide monitoring, a no-smoking policy, walk-off mats at all entrances and shoe storage inside the building units. Amenities include an academic success center with 18 study rooms, a fitness center, recreation center, bike room outdoor community kitchen.

Since 2004, ACC has partnered with UCI to develop sustainable student housing properties through public-private partnerships. In the 15 years since joining forces, ACC has built and manages more than 6,000 beds across five student housing communities.