LEED Goes To Historic Indiana Building

What do you do with a deteriorating 1857 landmark on the campus of a modern university? If you’re Indiana Tech, you preserve the best of the past and inject the best of the present in the form of one massive renovation–and, in the process, get yourself a nice bronze plaque from the U.S. Green Building Council attesting to your new LEED Gold status.

The Indiana Tech Board of Trustees approved the $3.1 million effort to preserve and modernize the historic Uytengsu Center on the condition that energy efficient upgrades to the building would actually pay the school back within the course of 10 years. Now that six months of operational data are now available, it would appear that the payback period for the project will actually be closer to seven years–which no doubt makes everyone happy.

Uytengsu Center

image via Indiana Tech

The Uytengsu Center renovation was led by Viridian Architectural Design, which took an integrated design approach with eco-friendly materials, sustainable construction methods, and advanced technologies with an initial goal of achieving LEED Silver Certification. It wasn’t until later in the design and construction process that the renovation team realized that Gold Certification might be attainable. (In both cases, it would appear, the green renovation of this historic landmark went better, and greener, than expected.)

The renovation earned this higher level of certification by reducing the amount of water used by the building and  minimizing the the heat island effect of the roof, as well as by utilizing high-efficiency LED lighting and natural daylighting throughout. As with many green renovations, original materials such as hardwood and brick were reused and recycled wherever possible, in this case diverting a whopping 550 tons of waste from local landfills. A closed-loop geothermal system provides heat for the building’s heating and cooling needs.

Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.