Warch Campus Center receives LEED Gold certification

Laura Streyle

The Warch Campus Center became officially LEED Gold certified Nov. 20, 2009. Lawrence University’s newest building is a key feature of the university’s sustainable practices. Amongst other features, the campus center includes waterless urinals, Green Seal certified cleaning products and a green roof.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a point-based rating system that was created by the U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, in 1993. LEED acts as a national framework for sustainable construction and building maintenance.
Depending on the number of points that a building earns, it can be certified as bronze, silver, gold or platinum.
To meet the needs of different building projects, there are multiple specialized versions of the LEED standards. The campus center was registered under LEED New Construction, version 2, and could not be formally certified until the building was up and running.
Green Roots, the Sustainable Lawrence Initiative committee, sent the application materials, along with the certification fee, for certification to USGBC in mid-September, and received the positive gold certification response in November.
To achieve the gold level of certification, the building needed to score between 39 and 51 points out of 69 points in six categories. Categories include Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality and Innovation and Design Process. The campus center received a score of 43 points.
Environmental consciousness was a part of the building from the beginning. In the first convocation speech of the 2008-2009 academic school year, Tom Boldt of the Boldt Construction Company spoke about the significance of building under LEED standards.
In his speech, Boldt outlined the many carefully planned construction methods, including the choice of resources, saying, “The new campus center will utilize wood which has been certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council. This wood has been harvested by forest managers who adopt environmentally and socially responsible forest management practices.”
Additionally, Greg Griffin, the campus center director, reported that the center can expect to use 20-30 percent less energy than a traditionally constructed building of this size.
Griffin also noted that all of the new equipment “is either Energy Star rated or of equal efficiency when no Energy Star rating is available.” This means that the EPA has identified and labeled the electronic equipment as 10-20 percent more energy efficient than competing models.
The process leading up to certification has been a rigorous one, involving collaboration across all sectors of Campus Life, HVAC, Facilities, Dining Services, student and faculty organizations and beyond.
As the community is still in the settling-in stages with the campus center and routines are just beginning to form around its shape and infrastructure, the administration still seeks feedback.
In a recent e-mail, Nancy Truesdell sent word of additional “green” changes at Kaplan’s Grill that will strengthen the gold standing of the campus center. Advancements such as using silverware instead of plastic utensils, and using real coffee mugs rather than disposables for dining-in are examples of new changes in winter term.
For more information on the center, visit the Green Roots blog at http://blogs.lawrence.edu/greenroots/ or http://www.usgbc.org/.