Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union Opens at San Diego State University

March 26th, 2014 |

P2S Engineering provided the mechanical, electrical, plumbing and telecommunications engineering design for San Diego State University’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union which is slated to become California’s largest LEED Platinum educational building. Canon Design was the architect that led the design team. The new facility features a classic Mission Revival design that pays tribute to the rich history of San Diego State University. Beyond the architecturally beautiful arches, arcades, balconies and courtyards, the engineering design incorporates sustainable and green features that will ultimately qualify the building for LEED Platinum Certification.

The 206,000 square foot, three-story student center houses a satellite fitness center, state-of-the-art bowling and games center, dining and retail space, student and community affairs offices, indoor and outdoor WiFi, and 13 meeting rooms of various sizes, including Motezuma Hall. The building also features a 300-fixed seat multi-purpose theater as well as indoor and outdoor lounges and seating areas for studying, meeting, relaxing, and enjoying outdoor entertainment along with San Diego’s beautiful year-round climate.

The Associated Students of SDSU prides itself as a leader, trendsetter and role model for sustainability in the CSU system. Nearly 80 percent of the materials used from the original student union, Aztec Center, which was the first student union opened in the CSU system in 1968, were recycled for reuse in the new Aztec Student Union. P2S provided sustainable MEPT design contributing to LEED Platinum registration. “We’ve incorporated a number of energy-saving features that not only makes the building more efficient, but will significantly reduce operating costs,” said Kent Peterson, vice president and chief engineer of P2S. As project manager for the highly visible green engineering project, Peterson said “We’ve incorporated both photovoltaic (PV) solar panels and skylights for power generation and natural daylighting, sunshade devices and operable windows for energy reduction and natural venting.”

According to Peterson, the project took advantage of traditional engineering methodologies along with a number of new green engineering technologies that work together to make for a cleaner and greener building that requires less natural resources while providing increased comfort for students, faculty and visitors. The design team used an integrated design methodology to maximize benefits while minimizing resources and costs. P2S included sub-metering of all utility systems within the building to allow the owner to better understand energy and water consumption patterns.

The HVAC is designed to consume 40% less energy than Title 24 standards and incorporates a low-pressure variable air volume (VAV) system. Radiant slab heating and cooling with ceiling fans and a dedicated outside air system are provided in parts of the building to reduce fan energy and improve indoor air quality. CO2 sensors provide demand-based ventilation for high occupancy spaces.

The electrical design includes highly efficient light fixtures and task lighting to illuminate the spaces within the buildings, effective daylight and demand controls to harvest daylight savings and reduce overall lighting power densities, use of energy efficient distribution transformers to reduce energy losses and provision of renewable power through PV system on the roof to offset a portion of the building energy usage.

The project includes underground water storage and pervious paving to eliminate discharge into municipal storm water systems while providing landscape irrigation. The building also features a radiant floor system providing a heating and cooling mass, as well as a green roof which reduces heat island effect while promoting a natural habitat.

Demolition of the former student union began in the summer of 2011 and the new Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union celebrated its Grand Dedication in March of 2014.