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Austin College IDEA Center Awarded Prestigious LEED? Green Building Certification
Article By: by Austin College
Posted: 4/11/2014 Views: 1440  Impressions: 10330
Categories: Education

SHERMAN, TEXAS-Austin College President Marjorie Hass announced today that the College's IDEA Center has been awarded LEED® Gold, a rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings.

"We were very pleased to receive news of the LEED Gold certification," said President Hass. "We were very committed to green building in all aspects of this project. This certification is an important affirmation of this effort and one more element of our campus-wide focus on sustainability and environmental awareness, as well as our commitment to the goals of our Thinking Green initiative."

College officials will hold an event June 20 to commemorate the achievement.

Faculty members like Peter Schulze, director of the College's Center for Environmental Studies, appreciate the focus on green building and the broader message demonstrated through the project. "The green features of this fabulous building provide tangible evidence that there are many opportunities to improve environmental performance without sacrificing other objectives," said Schulze, professor of biology and environmental science. "Its various green features not only make the building more environmentally efficient but also serve as a subject for education on green design- and make the building a particularly pleasant place to study and work."

The Austin College IDEA Center opened in Fall Term 2013, providing a contemporary, learning-focused home for students and faculty studying biology, chemistry, computer science, environmental studies, math, and physics. The multi-disciplinary building of approximately 103,000 square feet includes classrooms and multi-purpose laboratories that support today's hands-on, experiential science curricula. The IDEA Center expands opportunities for faculty-student research and facilitates global access to research and information. The building features 32 laboratory classrooms, 40 offices, 16 lecture rooms, a 108-seat auditorium, and the domed Adams Observatory, housing a 24-inch telescope with an astronomical high-resolution image camera.

General contractor for the project was Hunt Construction Group, renowned for its expertise in LEED/green initiatives and building bio-medical research facilities nationwide, according to Heidi Ellis, vice president for Business Affairs at Austin College. Other major partners for this effort included American Bank of Texas in Sherman, Dallas-based Pritchard Associates as project management consultants, and Page, also located in Dallas, as the architect of record. Conceptual design for the building was prepared by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott of Boston, Massachusetts.

"LEED certification of Austin College's IDEA Center demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the IDEA Center serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish."

LEED certification of the IDEA Center was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively shaped the project itself and the broader community. A sampling of primary features includes:

* Construction Activity Pollution Prevention
* Alternative Transportation Parking
* Storm Water Design: Quantity Control
* Water-Efficient Landscaping
* Minimum Energy Performance
* Optimize Energy Performance
* Storage and Collection of Recyclables
* Construction Waste Management (Divert 75% from Disposal)
* Recycled Content 20%
* Regional Materials 20%
* Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control
* Innovation in Design-Green Cleaning
* Innovation in Design-Water Use 40% Minimum Reduction

U.S. Green Building Council
The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the United States through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that was projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013.

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

Austin College
Austin College is a leading national independent liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas. Founded in 1849, making it the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original charter and name, the College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA). Recognized nationally for academic excellence in the areas of international education, pre-professional training, and leadership studies, Austin College is one of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope's influential book Colleges That Change Lives.

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