New LEED building certifications boost WMU total to seven

Share |
Photo of the .

Chemistry Building

KALAMAZOO—Western Michigan University is starting the new year with a total of seven campus buildings recognized for meeting the stringent requirements of LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—the national benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Late in December, WMU facilities officials learned that Brown Hall and the Chemistry Building had successfully met LEED standards for existing building—EB—certification, widely considered among the most difficult certifications to earn. Earlier in the fall, all four buildings of the Western View, Phase I, student housing complex earned LEED new-construction—NC—certification.

A commitment to energy efficiency

"These certifications represent thousands of hours of work aimed at ensuring and documenting lower operating costs and reduced impact on the environment over the life of these buildings," says WMU President John M. Dunn. "The U.S. Green Building Council's designations acknowledge our commitment to energy efficiency and our determination to use the resources entrusted to us in the most effective ways possible."

The six newly certified buildings join the College of Health and Human Services, which earned a LEED-EB gold designation in 2009. That building and WMU's focus on the LEED-EB rating has attracted national attention and a spate of articles in professional publications.

"WMU continues to get national exposure because of our unique focus on LEED for existing buildings," says Peter J. Strazdas, associate vice president for facilities management. Strazdas notes information about the College of Health and Human Services building and its special features most recently appeared in the December 2012 issue of Buildings magazine.

In addition, the University has six other buildings now going through the lengthy certification process. Successful completion of those six initiatives should bring WMU's number of LEED-certified buildings to 13 by early 2014. The buildings still in the certification process are Sangren Hall, the Lee Honors College, the new Zhang Legacy Collections Center and the two new residential buildings and community center of Western View, Phase II.

Those six buildings, Strazdas says, are registered with the U.S. Green Building Council and are in various stages of the certification process. The newly certified Brown Hall, Chemistry Building and Western View buildings share several green design features, including integration into WMU's award-winning stormwater retention system. Also, both Brown and the Chemistry Building are cleaned with green products.

Additional green building features that led to certification

Brown Hall (LEED-EB certification)

  • Computer-controlled irrigation system
  • Water-efficient fixtures, including dual flush toilets
  • Energy-efficient classroom lighting with dimmers and occupancy sensors
  • Compact fluorescent site lighting

Chemistry Building (LEED-EB silver level certification)

  • Underground service tunnel that preserves green space around the building
  • Energy-efficient site lighting controlled by the building automation system
  • Bike racks incorporated into site design

Western View I four-building housing complex (LEED-NC certification)

  • Access to public transportation and re-use of a previously developed property
  • Water-efficient fixtures
  • Optimized energy performance with electrical and HVAC equipment
  • Construction waste management procedures and use of recycled and local materials
  • Low-emitting paints and flooring materials
  • Thermal insulation and use of daylight to lower energy consumption