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New buildings seek LEED certification

Laura McCrystal | Monday, March 30, 2009

Notre Dame emphasizing sustainability through the pursuit of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for current and future construction projects, University architect Doug Marsh said in a lecture Monday night.

“Buildings have the toughest impact of the environment,” Marsh said. “There is a huge opportunity to positively impact those outcomes by different designs.”

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) gives LEED certifications based on buildings’ innovation and sustainability in site planning, water management, indoor environmental quality, material use and energy, Marsh said.

Construction projects currently seeking LEED certification include Ryan Hall, Stinson-Remick Hall and the Purcell Pavilion addition to the Joyce Center.

Marsh focused on Stinson-Remick Hall, the new engineering building that is scheduled to open in January 2010, to explain the innovations that contribute to LEED certification.

The building’s reduction of energy consumption will have the largest impact, Marsh said. Stinson-Remick will contain energy-efficient lighting, solar panels and a heat recovery system for lab fume hood exhausts.

The heat recovery system will have payback within seven years, but the solar panels will not save as much energy due to the northern Indiana climate, Marsh said.

“We’ll get there,” Marsh said about the solar panels. “The technology is replacing itself and it’s becoming more and more efficient several times over.”

Stinson-Remick will also feature showers and locker rooms to encourage faculty and staff to bicycle to work, Marsh said. To promote fuel-efficiency, the nine most convenient parking spaces will be reserved for fuel-efficient cars.

The metal roof deck, interior doors and ceiling tiles of Stinson-Remick will be made from recycled materials.

The University buildings will receive LEED certification within a year of their opening, Marsh said.

There are four levels of LEED, determined by the number of points that buildings earn for each sustainable innovation, Marsh said. The University is seeking certification, the most basic level of LEED, for buildings already under construction.

Marsh said Notre Dame would pursue LEED silver, which is a higher level of certification, for three newer construction projects: the Phase I Innovation Park for research, the Stayer Center for Executive Education and the new hockey facility.

Marsh said University architects must balance the design goals for the campus with the desire to create sustainable buildings. For example, he said University buildings have always had slate roofs. Slate is a sustainable material, but it does not earn points with USGBC, Marsh said.

“[LEED] is a tradeoff with trying to have a comprehensive campus,” he said. “We can sacrifice some of our design goals to get the credit.”

Sustainability and LEED certification involve a transformation in architecture, construction and materials, Marsh said.

“This is all about trying to create a sustainable environment,” he said. “Sustainable for human beings as well as for our planet.”