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Appalachian’s College of Education Building Receives LEED Silver Certification

The building that houses Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education has received LEED® Silver certification established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The certification means the building’s design, construction and operation meet various measures of sustainability, such as water and energy efficiency, and use of materials and resources that are less impactful to the environment. Its site has features that reduce storm water runoff and is located near public transportation.

Green Building Council

Specific features of the 124,547-square-foot building include energy efficient lighting, a green vegetative roof and use of reflective roofing to reduce high solar reflectivity and lower cooling costs, water-conservation plumbing features, water efficient landscaping, solar hot water panels, and an energy-efficient heating and air conditioning system. In addition, many of the building materials used for the project had recycled content and were manufactured or harvested regionally, such as floor covering and wood panels.

The building’s energy efficiency is expected to save the university $4.4 million during the next 20 years when compared to similarly sized academic buildings on campus, according to Patrick Richardson, an energy analyst with Appalachian’s Physical Plant.

The education building is the third on campus to receive LEED® certification. Frank Residence Hall was the first, receiving Gold certification in 2010. Mountaineer Residence Hall received Gold for Homes certification in 2012.  Buildings with pending certification are Summit Residence Hall, Plemmons Student Union addition and the Brad and Carole Wilson Honors and Engagement Community’s academic wing.

Sustainability is a core value at Appalachian. In 2007, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution requiring that all new buildings and major renovations meet at a minimum LEED® silver standards.

Recently, Provost Lori S. Gonzalez stated that the university’s new strategic plan will be based on the concept of sustainability. “This is a true value at Appalachian and the University Planning and Priorities Council believes it should be elevated through the strategic plan,” she said in an email to campus. 

A statement on sustainability being considered for the strategic plan addresses the university’s active stewardship of the state’s “interconnected financial, cultural and natural resources. Through engaged scholarship, we balance critical, creative and global thinking in a living laboratory, transforming theory into practice and fostering responsible citizenship,” the proposed statement reads.  

About the U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013.

USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students. Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent water consumption and 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.