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Eastern Kentucky University has been honored again for its commitment to environmental stewardship.

University officials learned recently that Phase 2 of its Science Building, the largest such facility on any college campus in the Commonwealth, was granted LEED Gold status by the U.S. Green Building Council. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.) A ceremony will be held at a later date.

Four years ago, nearby South Hall became the first LEED Gold-certified residence hall on a state university campus in Kentucky.

To earn LEED Gold distinction, facilities must meet stringent standards related to sustainability, energy and water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and resources used in construction, and design innovations.

“With the completion and certification of Phase II of the Science Building, EKU now has more than 234,000 square feet of LEED Gold-certified building space on campus,” EKU Sustainability Manager Patrick McKee noted. “As we continue our campus revitalization efforts, we are doing so with careful attention to sustainability and building performance. We are targeting LEED certification for the new recreation center currently under construction, and we hold other smaller projects, such as the Powell Building renovation, to our own internal sustainable building guidelines.”

Phase 2, which opened in August 2017 and houses the Departments of Biological Sciences and Geosciences, boasts several notable features that led to LEED Gold honors:

·         The exterior envelope aesthetic includes cast-in-place concrete, brick, zinc panels and a high-performance glazing system, offering a reliable, long-term lifespan and durability while reducing glare and solar gain and maximizing daylight opportunities.

·         Materials of the lab casework were chosen for their physical aesthetic and pre- and post-consumer recyclable content.

·         Full-height glazing on the west, east and north facades bring in as much light into directly adjacent spaces as possible.  Borrow lights allow daylight to penetrate further into the building.

·         Roof and ground water are re-directed to retention basins around the site, allowing planted natural grasses to flourish and minimize the impact on the local storm water systems. The retention system eventually ends in a storage tank that can used for greenhouse irrigation.

·         A number of strategies were implemented to ensure the best possible indoor air quality.

Lead designer Omni Architects directed the LEED application process, with supplemental information and support from landscape architects Element Design and mechanical and electrical engineers Staggs and Fisher, as well as direct input from the University, particularly science faculty.

Other members of the design team were: Health Education Research Associates, laboratory planners; BFMJ, structural engineers; Swope Design, interior design; and Facility Commissioning Group, commissioning agent.