The Old Civil Engineering (CE) Building has earned a certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), following its renovation’s completion in Nov. 2008.
The US Green Building Counsel (USGB) developed the LEED to provide standards for environmentally sustainable construction. LEED awards are tiered into several categories: certified, silver, gold and platinum. Construction designs are awarded points based on categories such as resource usage efficiency, water consumption levels, carbon dioxide levels and monitoring, amount of material recycled and landscape irrigation efficiency. The building totaled 43 points to achieve its gold rating.
The design phase of renovations for the CE building began in 2006 with the original goal of expanding space for the Ivan Allen College (IAC). Halfway through the project, the administration decided to change its goals to pursue the LEED. The final budget which was procured from the state legislature ended totaled to $9 million.
“We’ve always required sustainable design and required our architects to practice designs that are sustainable especially from an energy point of view. There was a change in the goals of the administration to pursue the certification so that we can document in a way that is recognizable to others that we are doing what we say we’re going to do,” said Gary Petherick, project manager of the renovations.
“The standards for the facility of design were designed as though the building was always going to be LEED certified but not necessarily to pursue the certification,” Petherick said. “It was more a matter of making sure that the requirements in the design were solid enough so that all the special requirements… were fulfilled.”
Costs incurred from the changes were minimal, as they were acquired fees from hiring additional consultants and designs and documentations to ensure goals.
“We weren’t looking to spend money in a way that was going to seek points. We were trying to focus on the core goals of renovating the building to meet the program needs and make the building as efficient as we could and see where that landed us points wise,” Petherick said.
Certification itself does bring benefits to the Institute from a marketing standpoint. It has also encouraged Tech on implementing LEED guidelines on all future construction.
“I think it is an internationally recognized way to demonstrate that you’ve achieved certain levels of sustainable design and construction for your projects.” Petherick said. “[The certification] is good PR, certainly, but it’s just one piece of a larger puzzle in sustainability. It’s a requirement for new Tech buildings to pursue LEED Gold certification or higher. There are several out there: GT Women’s Softball Complex is under review right now for certification, there’s the new dining facility in North Avenue that’s going to be LEED certified. The new Aerospace Combustion lab is anticipated to be LEED platinum.”