A LEED Silver First At Montana State U.

Montana State University’s Gaines Hall has come a long way in its 50 years. Recent renovations of the academic building have made it the first state- and university-owned building to receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification, according to the university.

The U.S. Green Building Council designated the building – which includes a 300-seat lecture hall and laboratories for chemistry, biology and other science fields – with one of the highest LEED certifications because of a myriad of green design features. The renovations helped reduce the building’s water usage by 52 percent compared to similar-sized buildings. Energy costs were also reduced by as much as 70 percent in the building thanks to the use of efficient building materials and high-performance mechanical and electrical systems.

LEED building, Montana State University

image via Montana State University

The amount of construction waste  produced to complete the remodel was also minimized. As much as 85 percent of waste, or 1,967 tons, went to recyclers rather than into landfills. Materials also came from local suppliers like the concrete block which came from Montana’s own Kanta Products. Gaines Hall was named after P.C. Gaines, who worked for 43 years in the MSU chemistry department.

The building’s transformation, reported in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, was a $32.5 million endeavor that was supported by Gov. Brian Schweitzer and Bozeman area legislators, the university said.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.