As fall begins, Isla Vista gets a green thumb with the opening of the LOOP, the newest housing project in the beachside town. Unlike the other bungalows, cabins and apartment complexes of IV, this five story, 140 bed project with 8,000 square feet of commercial space brings a tiny carbon footprint to the environmentally conscious community.
We aren’t just talking about solar panels, either. This 17 million dollar facility contains a whole host of innovative sustainable features, some entirely environmental and others sentimental. Passivhaus certified passive heating and cooling systems— where the insides of walls switch from a liquid to a solid state depending on the temperature— help save on energy bills while always keeping the building at a comfortable temperature. Skylights and tons of operable windows provide natural light and ventilation. An elegant seating area in the front lobby boasts an elaborate bench/wall fixture fashioned from a tree that stood on the building’s current location before its construction. Drought resistant landscaping creates easy-to-manage outdoor beauty.
Other unique features include a robotic parking garage and rentable skydeck, where last Friday night, Dipaola Capital and Mesa Lane Partners (the brains behind the building) hosted a spirited party announcing the opening of their facility. In true UCSB fashion, delicious hors d’oeuvres were passed right next to an ice luge serving tequila to whoever was brave enough to take a drink. During the year, students can rent out the skydeck for their own soirees.
It’s no wonder that the LOOP is receiving a bounty of attention from governmental and environmental institutions. Using 33% less energy than a building its size, the LOOP has already won a number of awards from organizations such as the US Department of Energy, and with LEED certification on its way, more awards are sure to come.
With all the savings from the LOOP, both in dollars and carbon footprints, it won’t be long before more sustainable housing complexes start popping up around Santa Barbara County. The intriguing design, green facilities and agreeable amenities of the LOOP will surely influence more projects in the years to come. All units are leased for the 2012-2013 school year (SBCC students have even moved in!), but you can still learn more about the LOOP on their website.
-Taylor Micaela Davis