Wednesday, September 29, 2010

DePaul Can LEED In New Ways

DePaul’s new LEED Gold science building is a huge step forward in sustainability best practices on campus. Chicago is one of the most well known cities for LEED certified buildings; sometimes called the “Green Roofs City,” and DePaul is absolutely making its mark there with its sustainability efforts. There is another side to green buildings, however, and that is the reuse of existing buildings. Recycling is a very standard method of practicing sustainability, and thus the recycling of old buildings is a big part of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). The USGBC offers a LEED rating system for existing building. This rating system is designed for renovations of existing buildings, with the goal of maximizing operating efficiency and minimizing environmental impacts. It involves recycling, cleaning, and maintenance programs. It also involves interior, exterior, and systems upgrades. DePaul’s existing built environment makes the university a perfect candidate to apply this rating system, much like many other universities are doing.

Universities are beginning to use this LEED approach to certify their existing buildings, without starting over at new construction. The University of Louisville’s Duthie Center for Engineering is a prime example. The recently renovated facility earned a LEED Gold rating from the USGBC. The renovation project was able to reuse 95 percent of the original structure from 1947. 77 percent of materials that were not reused were recycled, 27 percent of new materials were recycled content, and 31 percent of new materials were produced regionally. The project also featured personal controls for lighting and air, and energy and water saving systems.

See more in the article Duthie Center for Engineering earns gold for energy design In U of L Today.

Texas Christian University-TCU is also a fine example of universities who are committed to sustainable best practices. Their recent renovation of Sherley Hall Dormitory has also earned a LEED Gold certification. They were able to reuse over 98 percent of the original structure. Water usage was reduced by 37 percent, and energy usage was reduced by 40-55 percent in exterior and interior lighting. These percentages go a long way in a college residence hall. The project also featured an Indoor Air Quality Management Plan during construction to minimize indoor air pollution upon inhabitation; also very important in a residence hall. Students in the dorm will have access to recycling rooms on every floor…and students produce a lot of garbage.

TCU is very committed to sustainable best practices on campus. The University is convinced that LEED are very effective in improving the health of inhabitants, and saving money and resources in the long run; and they are not stopping with Sherley Hall. TCU has also earned LEED Gold Certification for Scharbauer Hall, which hosts student classes. Here both the students and the faculty benefit from a healthier classroom and working environment. This was a new project, however, and not a renovation, but strongly exhibits TCU’s commitment to the entire built environment on campus. This is the direction in which DePaul should be traveling. The University already has an amazing start with the new LEED Gold science building. Now a beneficial focus will be LEED renovation. Read more about TCU’s renovation

Photo Credit 1: U of L Today

Photo Credit 2: TCU Magazine

Kurt England, LEED AP

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