LEED Gold Building For A Different Penn State

Every day, technology and innovation push the boundaries of what’s possible in the realm of green building. So it’s only fitting that the Gaige Technology and Business Innovation Building at Penn State Berks was recently awarded LEED Gold level certification. This is the first project at Penn State Berks to pursue LEED Certification and the first in the Penn State system, outside University Park campus, to be awarded gold certification.

Although there are many sustainable initiatives incorporated into the building’s design, one of the coolest elements was created through collaboration between students in the advanced business writing class. Together, the writing students and designers came up with 25 catchy signs that would help visitors identify and appreciate the building’s green features.

Penn State Berks Leed Gold building

image via Alvin H. Butz Construction

To earn LEED Gold certification, the building was evaluated in six major categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. The three-story structure met or exceeded the U.S. Green Building Council’s criteria for all six categories, and showcases some of the most innovative and efficient technologies on the market.

Among the most impressive of these features are wooden doors are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), dual flush toilets, water bottle filling stations that make it easier and more sanitary to avoid bottled water, a rain garden and rooftop collection system that captures excess rainwater and reuses it throughout the building, energy efficient thermal windows, LED lights, and motion sensors to cut down on unnecessary energy use.

Additionally, twenty percent of the material used in Gaige was made of recycled content, including steel beams, metal studs, aluminum panels, ceiling tiles, and concrete blocks. And the school reports that 87 percent of all construction waste was recycled or used as fuel, rather than being sent to a landfill.

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog