LEED Gold Goes To New College Hall

Back in 2008, Maryland made a bold move by mandating that all new buildings within the state would have to meet LEED Silver certification standards. The University of Maryland decided to go one better with its new Pharmacy Hall, which recently garnered LEED Gold from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The University reports that its old Pharmacy Hall had stark fluorescent lighting, crowded lecture halls and limited communal space. The new building address these issues with a light-filled atrium, large gathering spaces, and what has been characterized as a calming atmosphere–perfect for students pursuing a notoriously demanding course of study.

Pharmacy Hall

image via University of Maryland

All of the University of Maryland’s new Pharmacy Hall’s inside spaces are accented by bright, honey-toned, FSC-certified beech wood paneling; other materials–such as ceiling tiles, carpet, and even structural steel–feature a high recycled content.

A key green feature of this building–designed by  Peter Schwab of RCG Architects of Baltimore–is its extensive use of occpancy sensors. These sensors ensure that unoccupied rooms remain not only unlit, but absented from the heating and cooling efforts of the HVAC system.  Highly reflective, light colored floors and walls reduce the need for bright lighting–which, in conjunction with the occupancy sensor and energy efficient lighting systems, have cut back lighting expenses by 84 percent.

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.