By: Stephanie Reitz
Laurel Hall, the new classroom building that opened in 2011 in the center of the Storrs campus, has received LEED Gold Certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction.
The certification is the highest achieved so far for a building at UConn, which has been following LEED “green” standards for all new construction design and renovation projects since adopting a policy in 2007 for sustainable methods in all major projects.
LEED-certified buildings are designed with methods to reduce operating costs, conserve energy and water, cut down on waste sent to landfills, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure a healthy working environment for occupants. The U.S. Green Building Council confers the certification after a review process.
“Achieving our first LEED Gold Certified new building at UConn, especially combined with our progress over the past few years retrofitting existing buildings to make them more energy- and water-efficient, shows a strong institutional commitment not only to conserving natural resources but also to providing high-performance buildings for educating our students,” says Rich Miller, UConn’s director of environmental policy.Laurel Hall was designed to include features such as energy-saving window glazing, low-flow valves and faucets, high-performance insulation, and use of rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, recycled copper, and other “green” materials.
It also has indoor air quality controls, drought-resistant and adaptable plantings, water-efficient bathroom fixtures, and a feature known as a “green roof” in which vegetation covering the roof reduces stormwater runoff and helps cut down on heating and cooling costs.
“There’s no better way than green, resource-efficient buildings to reduce the University’s carbon footprint,” says Miller, “and our sustainable design and construction policy is another important reason that UConn was ranked by the Sierra Club among the top five greenest colleges in the nation last year.”
Laurel Hall opened to classes in fall 2011. Skanska USA Building Inc. was the general contractor, and Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects served as the project architect and engineer.