Good as Gold: New LEED Gold Buildings at Universities

DePauw University’s Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics earned a gold rating for its efficient design and local materials. (Photo courtesy DePauw University)

A handful of colleges are celebrating gold certifications in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

Vanderbilt University’s Commons Center, a dining area and community center for first-year students, will save hundreds of thousands of gallons of water each year through low-flow devices and is 30 percent more energy efficient than a conventional building. A number of recycled materials were used in the center’s construction and operation — for example, old oak chairs in the dining room came from the library. (Nearly 75 percent of the material from the old dining facility, which was torn down to make room for the Commons Center, was recycled.) Student groups are also involved in green efforts connected to the building. The students run a composting system behind the building that breaks down food waste for use in the campus flower beds. Students are also involved in turning waste oil from the kitchen into biodiesel that is used in campus groundskeeping equipment. Bruner/Cott designed the building.

DePauw University’s Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, designed by CSO Architects, became the first building in Indiana to be certified gold. The building’s roof is designed to reflect the sun’s rays in summertime and to use the sun as a source of heat in winter. Much of the material used in the building came from local sources, and the building also has some water-saving features.

The James B. Duke Library at Furman University earned a gold rating for the renovation that added 50,000 square feet of space, opening up the rear of the building for more stacks and comfortable seating. Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott designed the renovation.

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