The renovation of the Grant Center, home of the Offutt School of Business, has won LEED Silver certification for its sustainable design and construction.
LEED is a program of the U.S. Green Building Council that provides third-party verification of sustainable, green buildings. The Grant Center is the first building on campus, and one of a few in the region, to receive LEED certification.
LEED-certified buildings cost less to operate and typically reduce energy and water bills by as much as 40 percent.
President William Craft says he was delighted to learn the college had achieved LEED status.
“Faithful stewardship of our resources arises directly from our mission as a global liberal arts college of the Lutheran church,” he says. “This distinction marks the beginning of a sustained commitment to that stewardship.”
The renovation of the Grant Center re-used more than 67 percent of the original structure, keeping those materials from going into landfills and reducing the amount of new construction materials required.
Campus sustainability coordinator Kristin Brethova says another value of LEED buildings is a growing consciousness of their value to a community.
“The broader goal is to reduce energy use, but also to improve things like air quality in places where people work every day,” she says. “Occupant satisfaction is an important factor in today’s buildings.”
Brethova says the college will continue to aim for LEED certification as older buildings are renovated and new buildings are designed and built.
The Grant Center will use 26 percent less energy each year because of design features like a center atrium that brings natural light into all levels of the building, sensors that automatically turn off overhead lights when not needed, and a mechanical system designed to reduce energy use.
More than 19 percent of the new building materials were made from recycled materials, including structural steel, ceiling panels and exterior glass walls. Additionally, more than 14 percent of the building materials were harvested or produced within 500 miles of the building. These included Hebron brick and Kasota stone.