California State University, Northridge’s New Sustainability Center

Tetra Tech’s High Performance Buildings Group provided mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering as well as energy analysis for the new Sustainability Center at California State University, Northridge (CSUN).


  • Size: 9,000 square feet
  • Construction Cost: $2.34 million
  • Owner: California State University, Northridge
  • Architect: Gensler
  • Completion Date: 2017


As the focus on sustainability continues to grow among students and administration at CSUN, and its Institute for Sustainability expands, it was determined a facility was needed to house its classes and faculty, and serve as a showcase for their work. The existing recycling yard was tapped as a space for the university’s new Sustainability Center.

The facility has achieved Net Zero Energy and earned LEED Platinum certification. It is also designed to meet the Living Building Challenge.

The CSUN Sustainability Center will house faculty offices, meeting spaces, and maintain the recycling yard. It is designed to work with the strengths and weaknesses of the San Fernando Valleys’ natural environment and climate. As sunlight is plentiful in the area, the 5,000-square-foot recycling yard will be covered with a 2,000-square-foot solar photovoltaic canopy that will supply energy to the building. A solar hot water system will meet heated water needs for inside the facility. And as water is scarce in area, composting toilets will be used to negate water usage for waste removal, and a system for rainwater and greywater capture will meet landscaping irrigation needs.

Tetra Tech continues to work closely with CSUN students on the design of the Sustainability Center, and the project has become an educational opportunity for students in the sustainability program. Tetra Tech has held daylong design charets with the students to both learn about their needs for the facility, and in turn educate them on the cutting-edge sustainable solutions.

The Sustainability Center was named ENR California’s Best Green Project in 2018.

Image courtesy of Ryan Gobuty/Gensler