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College Facilities Make the Green Grade

HamiltonCollegeKJbldingSeveral colleges including Bellevue College and Hamilton College have earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Cornell University also recently teamed up with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to help more colleges achieve greater energy efficiency and lower emissions.

As an example, Bellevue College in Washington state was recently awarded LEED Gold certification for its new three-story, 64,000-sq.-ft. science and technology building that houses five high-tech classrooms, 16 advanced laboratories and a science study center, reports Design Training.

Some of the energy-efficient measures implemented by the college include loss-reducing roof, wall and window designs to lower heating demands, low flow fixtures and sustainable landscaping, reports Design Training. The building also receives 91 percent of its lighting through natural openings in the structure, and uses electricity from renewable resources for more than 1/3 of its power needs, according to the article.

During construction of the $34-million building, developers used recycled materials in more than one-fifth of its construction and reduced the amount of construction waste sent to landfills, according to Seattle PI.

Other environmental measures cited by the newspaper include the use of low-emission paint, carpeting and sealants as well as cooling and appliance refrigerants that minimize or eliminate emissions that contribute to ozone depletion. The college also encourages no- and low-emission commuting by providing showers and changing rooms for bicyclists, and preferred parking for fuel-efficient and low-emission vehicles and car- and van-pools, according to Seattle PI.

Hamilton College in New York has also been awarded LEED Gold certification for the renovation of its 40-year-old Kirner-Johnson (KJ) Building, which houses the college’s social sciences departments, reports Oneida Dispatch. Another Hamilton campus building, Skenandoa House, received LEED Silver certification in 2006, according to the article.

Hamilton College has a policy in place to build all new structures to LEED standards, whether or not the college decides to seek actual certification, according to the newspaper.

The Kirner-Johnson project includes energy-efficient mechanical systems, environmentally-friendly materials and improved indoor environmental quality, reports Oneida Dispatch. The upgrades are expected to deliver a 25 to 29 percent savings in energy, according to the college.

Hamilton College says it has also purchased renewable energy certificates for this coming fiscal year including 100 percent renewable energy for KJ and Emerson Buildings and another 4,000,000 kilowatts for the campus from Renewable Choice Energy.

Skenandoa House also uses 100 percent renewable energy through the National Grid Green Choice program and Hamilton has received Energy Star certification for Skenandoa House and Spencer House, according to the college.

In addition, Skenandoa House is powered completely from green electricity (wind, biomass, small hydro), which has reduced CO2 emissions by 107.1 tons, nitrous oxide by 289.5 pounds and sulphur dioxide by 765 pounds, according to the college. By purchasing 100-percent green power, Hamilton is also a member of EPA’s Green Power Partnership.

Aimed at helping campus-based institutions leverage more opportunities to reduce energy consumption, implement renewable energy, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, NREL and Cornell University have launched a Web site to help them develop clean energy and carbon-reduction strategies.

The Web site, Climate Neutral Research Campuses, provides campuses with a process to establish a baseline carbon inventory and develop and implement their own climate action plans.

Other government and school partnerships include NASA’s recent teaming with UC Santa Cruz and Foothill-De Anza Community College to build a green research campus in Silicon Valley that will conduct research on various topics such as energy efficiency, renewable technology and super-computing.

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One thought on “College Facilities Make the Green Grade

  1. LEED labels are such a great way for consumers to identify businesses and residents committed to the green economy. Good to see colleges and universities joining green revolution with more and more businesses trying to build efficient, clean buildings with sustainable designs.

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