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Higher Education Paving Way To LEED Platinum Facilities

Higher Education Paving Way To LEED Platinum Facilities

There are many trends within the higher education building sector such as sustainable design, LEED certification, lower operating costs and decreased energy consumption. On November 14, 2012, McGraw-Hill issued a press release based upon a survey conducted by the organization, which noted that schools and universities are continuing to invest in new and retrofit green building at high levels. And, according to results, 55% of higher education respondents who have begun initiating these programs report decreased energy use while 46% report lower annual costs.

As colleges and universities focus on these issues, green building with LEED certification is becoming the new normal. Within this post, we highlight some impressive recent projects within the higher education sector that have received LEED Platinum certification along with the companies that were instrumental in making their green projects possible.

Campus Police Substation, San Diego Miramar College (San Diego CA) This 5,108 SF facility will be net-zero energy ready when PVs are added to the adjacent 4-story, 828-space parking garage. A solar chimney in the substation tower activates natural airflow ventilation and the HVAC system automatically turns off when the windows are open. There is also a terra-cotta greenscreen and vegetated roof that shield the building from solar heat. Project Team: Harley Devereaux, McCarthy Building.

Carbon-Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory, Georgia Technological Institute (Atlanta, GA) Georgia Tech’s $23M Carbon–Neutral Energy Solutions Laboratory focuses on the research of energy-conversion technologies such as biomass gasification kinetics, high-efficiency combustion engines, biochemical-enzymatic conversion of biomass materials and greenhouse gas capturing from power plants. To achieve its net-zero energy usage status, it utilizes: translucent wall panels that maximize daylight, operable windows, radiant heat, under-floor air distribution and chilled beams. PVs were also installed on the awning and roof. Project Team: HDR Architecture, CUH2A, Gilbane Building Company.

Energy Center, Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR) –OSU's 25,000 SF, 6.5 MW co-generation plant reduces the university’s energy costs by $650,000/year and cuts its carbon emissions by 38% compared to the 90-year old plant it replaced. Features include a white reflective roof, water-efficient landscaping, the use of recycled materials, rainwater harvesting system that is used for the boilers, radiant heat, hot water generated by the heat recovery from the steam system, and natural lighting and ventilation. Building energy use is 52% better than Oregon building code. It has been named as the first power facility in the U. S. to earn a Platinum rating. Project Team: Heery International, CH2M Hill, Anderson Construction.

Southwest Education Center, Moraine Valley Community College (Palos Hills, IL) - This 32,000 SF facility is the college’s first LEED certified building. It has achieved LEED Platinum status with a self-shading curtain that controls heat during summer and an HVAC system that uses a geothermal system of 36 geothermal wells that are each 320 feet deep and heat pumps that reduce energy consumption by 45%. It also employs daylighting, sun harvesting, vegetative bioswales, porous paving materials and water retention ponds. Project Team: Legat Architects.

Centre of Construction Excellence, Algonquin College (Ottawa, Ontario) – The Centre of Construction Excellence is a 200,000 SF, $79M research facility that uses 60% less energy than the Model National Energy Code of Canada. Its 5-story biowall made up of living plants filters the air, which provides oxygen to the atrium space and all five connected floors. Other features include a green roof, solar panels, and a storm water recovery system. Project Team: Diamond & Schmitt Architects, Edward J. Cuhaci & Associates Architects, EllisDon Corporation.

Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, University of Colorado Boulder (Boulder, CO) – Opening April 2012, this 336,800 SF research and teaching facility boasts 30% more energy and water efficiency that others recently built, code compliant buildings with a similar function. One of the strategies implemented is group labs with similar functions are located near one another in the building, which centralizes common lab equipment and maximizes the efficiency of energy use, ventilation and heat recovery. The facility will have large-scale solar panels installed and it also features evaporative cooling, daylight harvesting, lighting controls, LED technology, an energy efficient freezer compressor and lab exhaust fume hoods. The University of Colorado at Boulder is a sustainability leader in higher education with its campus having 5 LEED Platinum buildings, 8 Gold and 1 Silver. Project Team: Robert A. M. Stern Architects, HDR Architects, J.E. Dunn Rocky Mountain Inc.

Engineering & Computer Science Building, Florida Atlantic University (Boca Raton, FL) – This 97,000 SF 5-story building includes electrical instrumentation labs, computer building/circuitry labs, 5G technologies and specialized research labs. To achieve LEED Platinum and reduce energy usage by almost 35%, it utilizes: chilled beam technology, a photovoltaic system, geothermal wells and heat exchangers that capture heat gain from the data center’s computer servers and UPS. Project Team: Leo A. Daly, STH Architectural Group, James A. Cummings.

Apogee Stadium Complex, University of North Texas (Denton, TX) – Apogee Stadium is the first newly constructed collegiate football stadium in the U. S. to achieve LEED platinum. The 31,000-seat stadium reduces energy consumption by 25% and uses 52% less water than a conventional stadium. It is also the first stadium to produce renewable energy on site with 3 wind turbines. Seventy-five percent of construction waste was recycled, 20% of products were made with recycled content and more than 47% were manufactured locally. Project Team: HKS Sports & Entertainment Group, Manhattan Construction Company.

Human Ecology Building, Cornell University Graduate School (Ithaca, NY) – Located on top of a three-story parking garage, this 89,000 SF, $71M facility contains laboratories for faculty in the Departments of Fiber Science, Apparel Design and Design & Environmental Analysis. The building is designed to use 32% less water and 47% less energy with demand-control ventilation and air-handling systems, occupancy sensors that reduce air exchanges, radiant heat and a green roof that has more than 25,000 native plantings. It has an extensive real-time energy usage monitoring system, which allows occupants to reduce their environmental impact and building performance is accessible through an online dashboard providing the ability to analyze its energy efficiency. Project Team: Gruzen Samton Architects, IBI Group.

Congratulations to these higher education institutions and their project teams who are putting sustainability and green building at the forefront of their initiatives.