SUNY Geneseo received its own "gold medal" while the Olympics transpired when the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded Monroe Residence Hall LEED Gold certification, the first building on campus to receive the stellar rating.
LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a widely-used green building rating system to encourage environmental responsibility and the efficient use of resources in design and construction. USGBC determines certification levels based on a point system to determine the environmental merits of a building. For most projects, there are four levels: certified, silver, gold or platinum.
"We're delighted to receive this news, especially since Monroe was a renovation rather than a demolition," said George Stooks, Geneseo's assistant vice president for facilities and planning. "The original plan was to demolish the old Monroe and build a new hall, but we decided to work with the existing structure to make it a stylish and welcoming living space while incorporating numerous sustainability features to make it environmentally friendly."
Monroe Hall had not been renovated since it opened in 1961. It reopened in spring 2013 after the two-year renovation and houses 150 students. Geneseo worked with the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) on the project and with the general contractor, Holdsworth Klimowski, in Rochester and the Williamsville, N.Y., firm Mach Architecture.
"We embarked on the design process with the goal of bringing a contemporary influence to Monroe Hall while delivering to the needs and expectations of today's students," said Brian Kelley, R.A., partner and principal-in-charge from Mach. "We are proud of the recognition of this accomplishment by USGBC and grateful for the visionary partnership of SUNY Geneseo and DASNY, the benefits of which will be passed on for generations to come."
David Norton, acting director of facilities planning, said the entire renovation – from design to construction – used environmentally friendly materials.
"Even construction waste that accumulated during demolition was recycled," said Norton. "It also utilizes geothermal wells for heating and cooling and energy-efficient windows. The building also harvests rainwater collected from the roof for flushing toilets."
A feature receiving heavy use in the building is the water bottle filler, an easy way to refill plastic bottles and keep wasted bottles out of landfills. A counter is built into the filler, indicating the number of plastic bottles that are kept out of landfills by reusing bottles.
"Sustainability is becoming integrated not only into our academic classes, student organizations, and facilities maintenance operations, but also into the design and construction process," said Darlene Necaster, co-chair of the college's Presidential Commission on Sustainability. "Building to LEED standards and certification helps to reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and LEED buildings are healthier and safer for occupants. Having a LEED Certified Gold building on campus is one of our many goals towards our commitment to a more sustainable campus."
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