Welcome Center Earns Silver LEED Certification
September 30, 2010
The Gartner Welcome Center at the University of Mount Union recently earned silver LEED certification by the US Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Welcome Center, the home to the offices of Admission and Student Financial Services, is the first LEED-certified building on Mount Union’s campus and in Alliance. It is also the first LEED-certified college or university facility in Stark County and one of the few certified buildings in Stark County alone.
The eco-friendly facility was designed by architectural firm Westlake Reed Leskosky of Cleveland and built by Hammond Construction of Canton. A ground-breaking ceremony was held in October 2008 and the project was completed in October 2009.
LEED stands for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building rating system. Developed by USGBC, this system provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction. Since its inception in 1998, LEED has grown to encompass over 14,000 projects in the United States and 30 countries covering more than one billion square feet of development area.
“When architectural firms design buildings, especially for college campuses, they know they are building for multiple generations, so eco-friendly design is important,” said Pat Hyland, architect at Westlake Reed Leskosky. “This building sends a sustainable and responsible message.”
The LEED certification system is organized into six environmental categories including sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design. In each category, the building was awarded points that led to its silver LEED certification.
Some of the green features of the Center include a geo-thermal well field; higher-performing insulation; higher-performing glazing in windows; low-flow toilets, urinals and fixtures; individual thermal control; occupancy sensors for lighting; and more efficient mechanical and electrical systems. It is also powered by a 20 ton vertical loop geothermal heat pump. Additional LEED-certified features include zero use of CFC and HCFC based refrigerants in the HVAC system, automatic lighting control, large use of new materials with significant recycled content and a location within 0.5 miles from many community services and public transportation.
According to Blaine Lewis, director of the Mount Union Physical Plant, paperwork for certification was submitted in February and official certification was awarded in mid-September.
“It was a good financial move for us (Mount Union),” Lewis said. “The building has an approximate five year pay off rate. Because of the building’s energy efficiency, money saved can be spent in other areas.”
“It is very important to us that, as a leader in the college and university sustainability movement, that we incorporate green practices whenever possible,” said Dr. Richard F. Giese, president of Mount Union.
Other projects on campus display Mount Union’s commitment to green initiatives. The Engineering and Business Building, which opened this fall, was built to similar sustainable standards. According to Lewis and Giese, future building projects on campus will be built to such standards to reach sustainable goals.