Building sustainability

GVL / Archive
The Laker Store and Kindschi Hall of Science

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GVL / Archive The Laker Store and Kindschi Hall of Science

Sanda Vazgec

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Sustainability has always been a top priority at Grand Valley State University and its latest completed construction project is no exception. The Marketplace, which encompasses the university bookstore, and the interconnected P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science have reached the Gold Standard of LEED Certifications. This award brings the university to 23 LEED certified facilities.

“In recent years there has been a push towards more sustainable practices, and Grand Valley along with Grand Rapids are among the leaders,” said Paul Lamphere, a geography and sustainable planning major. “The involvement of former Grand Rapids mayor, George Heartwell, has also had a significant impact in the sustainability of our area and I’m confident that those efforts will continue to rise. Our award certified buildings are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the future of sustainable practices.”

LEED Certifications are based on factors such as: building design and construction, water efficiency, energy emission, environmental quality and more. Certified buildings use less water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which save money in the long run. In order for a building to be certified, the project manager must register the construction for review and be an active participant throughout the entire process. Once a building goes through the review process it is scored and receives one of four certification levels.

Certifications levels are awarded based on the number of points a project earns in the review process. In order to receive the title of LEED Certified, a project must score 40-49 points. LEED Silver requires 50-59 points earned, 60-79 for LEED Gold and 80+ points for the highest certification of LEED Platinum.

In order to reach the coveted level of LEED Gold status, the Marketplace and P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science scored high in technology integration, sustainability and healthy design, energy efficiency and connectivity.

“Most of my classes were in Kindschi Hall this year and it really stands apart from some of the older buildings on campus,” said GVSU senior Jennifer Wutka. “It’s obvious that the building was made with the future in mind. The technology, the design and the energy efficiency, it’s all there and it’s exciting to see that the environment is being considered when expanding the campus.”

GVSU has committed itself to building all new construction to at least LEED Silver status to ensure these sustainable practices continue. According to the Office of Sustainability, the certified buildings on GVSU’s campus use 30 percent less energy, 40 percent less water and 75 percent less material than regular buildings. The campus currently has 1,585,628 square feet of LEED award certified property.