12/19/08

Going green with LEED buildings

"Going Green" isn't just a trendy phase. It's our future.

Individuals and organizations, alike, are becoming more environmentally aware. But Carnegie Mellon is ahead of the curve.

How?

For starters, meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) criteria on all new construction projects has been a university priority since 2000.

Since then, seven buildings on campus have received LEED certification.

Most recent is the Carnegie Mellon Café, a campus dining facility formerly known as Highlander Cafeteria.

The café received a Gold LEED certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council for its energy efficiency, sustainability and use of green design principles.

Renovations to the café utilized a variety of green design strategies, including the use of sustainable materials, improving the interior air quality, making energy efficiency enhancements, providing greater access to daylight and views, and upgrading the building's overall systems.

For example, the Carnegie Mellon Café now uses "smarter" energy systems. The second-floor lights use motion sensors to turn on only when somebody is there. Similarly, the first-floor sensors monitor the amount of natural daylight in the room and adjust the artificial lights accordingly.

LEED's rating system for new construction and major renovations awards points based on how the design, construction, operation and management meet specific environmental standards. Depending on points earned, buildings can achieve a certified, silver, gold or platinum status.

Other LEED certified buildings on campus include: 300 and 407 South Craig Street (2007), the Collaborative Innovation Center (2006), Posner Center (2005), the Henderson House (2004) and the Stever House (2003).

And constructing LEED certified buildings is just one of the many ways Carnegie Mellon achieves excellence in energy and environmental sustainability.

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