U.S. Green Building Council Designates LEED Gold Award for SFCC’s Automotive Technologies Center

A Northern New Mexico advanced training facility offering state-of-the-art studies for careers in Automotive Technology  

SFCC Automotive Technologies Center, courtesy of Enterprise Builders

Santa Fe Community College announces that the U.S. Green Building Council has certified the college’s Automotive Technologies Center at the Gold Level under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction rating system. The building earned 66 documented and approved points.

“SFCC is proud to have achieved LEED Gold for the Automotive Technology Center,” said SFCC president Becky Rowley, Ph.D. “Our students, faculty and staff have an amazing building with state-of-the-art technology classrooms and labs that will prepare our students for well-paid professional opportunities in automotive technologies. The Center furthers the college’s commitment to sustainability and energy conservation.”

SFCC’s ATC supports students with the latest in computerized diagnostic equipment and electric vehicle maintenance capabilities. The 17,500 square foot building is equipped with classrooms and spaces that emulate the automotive customer service experience of an auto dealership including parts management, inventory control, quick repairs, and beginning to end of work ticketing system. Educational spaces include a large shop space with lifts, three specialized labs: chassis/suspension, electric and EV/hybrid engine/power train, a computer/trainer classroom, offices, and support spaces. The Flex Lab, located off the main entry plaza, doubles as a car showroom for events and is designed to be shared with other SFCC programs. The entry/corridor features a gallery sponsored by the Santa Fe Concorso that houses automotive photographs and memorabilia. Outside, there are four Electrical Vehicle Charging stations, an entry plaza, picnic tables, visitor parking, and fenced storage for program cars. The center replaces the previous 2,000 square foot leased garage space that was quite a distance from the main campus.

Director of Automotive Technologies Julia Furry said, “We’re thrilled that our new building has achieved the LEED Gold designation. It’s fitting that the ATC will be training students to repair and maintain EV/hybrid vehicles in this space. Also, anyone can use the Chargepoint EV charging stations in front of the building (which can be found by drivers using the mobile app available at https://www.chargepoint.com/drivers/mobile/). Our students are loving taking classes in this new, spectacular, high-tech space.”

The building was not only designed to meet LEED Gold certification standards, but also to meet ASE (Automotive Service Excellence requirements).

ATC Vehicle lifts, photo courtesy of Enterprise Builders

There is a shortage of trained automotive technicians in Santa Fe and surrounding areas.  The ATC responds to this industry need.  The Automotive Technologies Program is designed to provide students with entry-level employment as automotive technicians. By the time students complete the program, they will earn an A.A.S in Automotive Technologies along with earning certificates in seven competency areas: Automotive Engine Repair, Auto Maintenance and Light Truck Repair, Automatic Transmission Transaxle, Automotive Heating and Air Conditioning, Brakes, Manual Transmission and Drive Train, and Steering and Suspension. SFCC offers a range of classes that prepare students to work on today’s advanced vehicle systems. The program provides students with the background and knowledge to earn Automotive Service Excellence certifications.

Also, in response to automotive business leaders in the community, classes are offered in the evenings and weekends to allow students to work during the day, while earning their credentials. Many dealerships are offering internships to students.

Sustainability was a priority from the very start of the project. The project team conducted an intensive site selection process to locate the project on previously disturbed land away from protected species habitat. A comprehensive site analysis was conducted to help inform the project’s optimum solar orientation and appropriate rainwater mitigation strategies. The nature of the work inside the facility emphasized the importance of isolating and eliminating hazardous gases from vehicle exhaust to keep occupants safe. Other sustainable highlights include:

  • A 92% reduction of outdoor water use: the building saves 717,879 gallons of water per month when compared to typical landscapes.
  • A 44% reduction of indoor water use: the building saves 1,138 gallons of water per month from plumbing fixture selection.
  • With outdoor and indoor water savings, the building saves over 6 million gallons of water per year compared to a building using standard landscape design and plumbing fixtures.
  • An energy use reduction of 32%, approximately 100,195.6 KWh/year. According to the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator, this building reduces 71 metric tons of CO2 emissions when compared to a standard building per year.  That’s equivalent to the CO2 sequestered by over 1000 tree seedlings growing for 10 years, every year (see attached graphic from EPA website showing additional carbon equivalents).
  • 50% of all construction waste recycled

These are the many LEED strategies that were employed in constructing the ATC:

  • Integrative process: SFCC worked with Greer Stafford/SJCF Architects and their sustainability consultant Verdacity who kicked off the project with the interdisciplinary design team in a charette to determine which LEED strategies would be targeted for the facility
  • Sensitive land protection and site development of protecting or restoring habitat: areas surrounding the facility were re-seeded with native vegetation
  • Surrounding density and diverse uses: the project location is in proximity to a range of other types of uses
  • Green vehicles: two electrical vehicle charging stations have been included, partially funded by the New Mexico Environment Department’s Light Duty Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment Program (grant)
  • Construction activity pollution prevention: pollution was monitored during construction
  • Site assessment: how the site was designed given various conditions
  • Open space (61,169 square feet, of which 56,395 square feet is vegetated)
  • Rainwater management: runoff is controlled
  • Light pollution reduction: low level and cut off lighting was used in outdoor areas
  • Outdoor water use reduction: xeriscape and permeable surfaces were used
  • Indoor water use reduction: use of low-flow fixtures
  • Building-level water metering: separated meters were provided
  • Enhanced commissioning: the project had both a building envelope commissioner (Avocet) and overall commissioning agent (EEA) on the team
  • Optimize energy performance: mechanical system design included energy studies
  • Advanced energy metering: specialized metering was included
  • Renewable energy production: SFCC had available credits from a previous solar array project that were used for this project
  • Building lifecycle impact reduction: lifecycle costs were looked at during design
  • Building product disclosure and optimization: techniques used included environmental product declarations and sourcing of raw materials
  • Construction and demolition waste management: waste was separated during construction and was then recycled
  • Enhanced indoor air quality strategies were addressed in mechanical design: the building uses a Variable Refrigerant Flow system that uses nine fancoil units to condition the small offices and labs.  The shop is conditioned by two large, high efficiency packaged rooftop units.  All systems are coupled with a ventilation system with energy recovery (ERV) that provides the adequate outside air for ventilation, along with smart control sequences to reduce energy consumption.
  • Low-emitting materials: materials were selected for the project
  • Construction indoor air quality management plan: attention was paid to indoor air quality during construction
  • Indoor air quality assessment: specific look at air quality by consultants during design and commissioning
  • Thermal comfort: the project allows users to adjust their environment by operable windows, as well as some thermostat management
  • Interior lighting: LED lighting was used for the facility
  • Daylight: the facility has high quality daylight; lighting studies were provided by the electrical engineers during project design
  • Innovation credits were awarded for the following reasons
    • Exemplary – optimize energy or daylight
    • Exemplary – renewable energy or rain water management
    • Innovation – green cleaning plan
    • Innovation – purchasing lamps
    • Pilot – daylight in non-regularly occupied spaces
    • LEED Accredited Professional
  • Additional Regional Priority credits were earned for the following features
    • Sensitive land protection
    • Surrounding density and diverse uses
    • Light pollution reduction
    • Outdoor water use reduction



Owner: Santa Fe Community College

Architect: Greer Stafford

Contractor: Enterprise Builders

Sustainability Consultant: Verdacity

Building Envelope Commissioning Agent: Avocet

Commissioning Agent: EEA Consulting Engineers

MEP Engineering: Bridgers & Paxton


For more information about U.S. Green Building Council Designates LEED Gold Award designation visit https://www.usgbc.org/leed. For further details on the ATC, contact Director/Project Manager Karin Pitman, Karin.pitman@sfcc.edu or 505-428-1720.

To learn about or apply to the Automotive Technologies program, please contact Julia Furry, Julia.furry@sfcc.edu or 505-428-1177.

Photos:  SFCC Automotive Technologies Center exterior, SFCC Automotive Technologies Center vehicle lifts.  Photos courtesy of Enterprise Builders. Additional photos available on request.

USGBC® and the related logo are trademarks owned by the U.S. Green Building Council and are used with permission.

Santa Fe Community College celebrates its 40th Anniversary as the pathway to success for individuals and the community. SFCC provides affordable, high-quality programs that serve the academic, cultural, and economic needs of the community. The college welcomes over 10,000 students per year in credit, noncredit, workforce training, personal enrichment, and adult programs.
A “Best for Vets” and a “Military Friendly” school.

Visit sfcc.edu or call 505-428-1000.

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