Campus Center to be LEED certified

Paul Jackson

On Feb. 2, three representatives from Uihlein-Wilson Architects, responsible for the planning and construction of Lawrence’s new campus center, discussed the steps being taken to ensure that the center will be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System. The discussion took place in Professor Marcia Bjornerud’s “Symposium on Environmental Topics” class and concentrated
on three things: the goal of this and all environmentally aware architecture; the standards that will definitely be met, possibly be met, and will not be met; and, finally, what the specific changes to the Lawrence campus will be.
One of the architects present mentioned
that “the goal of this architecture is to enjoy the environment and to also be protected from it.” She went on to explain that to achieve LEED certification – the big name in environmentally sound architecture
– one must commit to it from the outset, a goal Lawrence administrators had from the start. She also stated that it was her and her colleagues’ goal to integrate the mission, goals and values of Lawrence into the project.
LEED certification requires compliance – with a handful of exceptions inherent in Lawrence’s non-urban location and local requirements from the City of Appleton – in six areas as follows: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Minerals and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process. In a general sense, the project must reduce site disturbance for the first requirement, completely avoid false landscaping for the second, optimize energy performance for the third, use local or regional – and recycled
if possible – materials for the fourth, vary air circulation levels for the fifth, and use low-emitting paints, carpets and the like for the sixth. One part of LEED certification that leaves some flexibility to the specific construction is what the organization calls “campus-specific goals.” For example, the environmental conditions of Northeastern Wisconsin are clearly different than the conditions of Central Arizona. Thus there are some items, such as erosion of the bluff along the Fox River, which can be more closely addressed. Others which are more conducive to urban environments, such as the Brownfield requirement – a bus stop within a certain distance of the building and extensive bike parking – can be placed on the back-burner.
Some items that were also addressed include physical changes to the Lawrence University campus. Three possible changes to the campus could be: a new footbridge over Lawe street to replace the existing one that would have more of a “natural feel”; a pathway to Trever Hall from the center; and a connecting corridor to Sage Hall.
More important than the goals of the architecture company, however, are the desires of the faculty and students that will be using the center regularly – whether for a small group meeting, lunch, or a movie. Students at the lecture were on the whole enthusiastic, and Bjornerud added, “I emphatically support the LEED certification process and similar standards for green building.”
The LEED certification will ensure a green campus center, and the process for acquiring such certification is off to a strong and well-supported start. For more information
on LEED certification, the Lawrence Web site will have a detailed list of certification
procedures posted later this week.