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UofL celebrates leadership in sustainability

by Erman,Linda last modified Jun 02, 2010 11:38 AM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville received praise today for green construction of the Clinical and Translational Research Building - the first research building in Kentucky to earn a Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and the largest gold research building in the nation in the category of new construction. The honor was awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit agency based in Washington that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation.

During a ceremony held inside UofL’s 288,000-square-foot building at 505 S. Hancock St., university officials, USGBC Kentucky Chapter Board Chair Cliff Ashburner and Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Leonard Peters unveiled a wall plaque from the USGBC to signify the honor.

“Receiving a Gold LEED certification is not easy,” Ashburner said. “UofL had to meet very strict criteria - earning a total of 41 LEED credits, two more than the 39 required for a gold rating.”

The use of energy-saving natural light was a key factor in design of the $143 million, state-funded biomedical research facility, which opened in October. Its reflective roof trims heating costs while outside louvers and inside light shelves regulate the amount of sun entering the building. Motion sensors turn off electric lights when they aren’t being used.

Condensed water from the building’s air conditioner is used to irrigate the building’s landscaping, and built-in showers and bicycle racks make it easier for employees to avoid driving their cars to work.

“This institution’s commitment to sustainability began years ago, and it’s encouraging to receive national recognition for our efforts,” UofL President James Ramsey said.

UofL is also pursuing LEED certification for three other projects - the renovations of its dental school and Duthie Center for Engineering and construction of its Level 3 biosafety lab at ShelbyHurst.

The U.S. Green Building Council established the LEED rating system in 2000. Businesses, schools, government agencies, stores and homes can apply for certification through the program, but must meet a number of green design and construction criteria to qualify for a certified, silver, gold or platinum rating.

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