Penn Flexes LEED Muscles With Fitness Center

The University of Pennsylvania is on a winning streak when it comes to green buildings, as the institution has now garnered its fifth LEED certification, this time for the George A. Weiss Pavilion, a workout facility. A former parking lot, this 52,000-square-foot building has taken certification at the Gold level.

The building earned its green stripes in part by diverting 95 percent of its demolition and construction wastes from landfills during construction through a combination of salvage, reuse and recycling, with excavated soil from the site being used to create new landforms at nearby Penn Park. High-efficiency plumbing fixtures reduce water use by up to 30 percent, while high performance building systems throughout the facility optimize energy performance.

image via Penn State

In keeping with the U.S. Green Building Council’s point system, the building’s implementation of a green cleaning plan also played a part in its LEED designation.

The building features views of Penn Park, as well as the future site of Shoemaker Green. Glass panels embedded in the concrete outside the façade allow daylight to reach even the basement, which houses a varsity strength and conditioning center.

The George A. Weiss Pavilion serves as weight training facility for Penn student-athletes; a fitness center for students, faculty and staff; and a site for retail establishments on campus. Its LEED designation comes hot on the heels of Penn’s other similarly certified buildings: the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine (Silver), Music Building (Gold), Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center (Platinum) and Joe’s Café (Gold, Commercial Interiors).

Of these buildings, the Morris Arboretum Horticulture Center scored the highest, utilizing a ground-source heat pump, a solar power system, rainwater harvesting and a green roof. It is the first LEED Platinum certified building for the University of Pennsylvania, and the second in the state of Pennsylvania.

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.