School of Business Building Brings Home the Gold

School of Business

The new School of Business facility has received LEED Gold certification, only the second building in the state to receive this recognition of "green" construction.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a program providing third-party verification of green buildings. Its rating system offers four certification levels for new construction -- Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum -- that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

school of businessBuildings in the LEED rating system earn points toward levels of certification depending on how many green features are included in the building's design and construction. Buildings must be rated by an independent rater certified by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

"Achieving Gold certification for this new building is a significant achievement," says Robert Sheeley, associate vice president for capital budgeting and facilities operations. "To be only the second building in the state to attain this status is great, but even better is what it means for Southern's efforts at becoming a greener campus."

Sheeley, along with Executive Vice President James Blake, serves as co-chairman of the university's Sustainability Committee, which works toward the goal of making the university carbon-neutral by 2050, as dictated by its participation in the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment.

Since January 2009, all construction projects in Connecticut, both public and private, in excess of $5 million have been required to meet green building standards. All renovation projects costing more than $2 million have had to meet the standards since 2010.

The School of Business project involved the complete renovation of the former Student Center. The university chose Nosal Builders as the general contractor and Tecton Architects as the project architect, combined with CES Engineers at the initiation of the project.

The 22,000-square-foot structure was revamped to address the programmatic needs of the School of Business while incorporating sustainable practices and materials and using alternative energy solutions. A target project budget of $7 million was established, with an overall project schedule of three years from design to occupancy.

The existing three-story building was built in 1959 and originally contained dormitory rooms, bathrooms, common areas and a student activity center. The building's exterior and interior were renovated and all new mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems installed.