With an eye towards sustainability, SUNY College at Old Westbury is making strides.
Its new Academic Building recently received LEED Gold Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, and is touted as the first facility on a college or university campus in Nassau County to earn that designation, a College at Old Westbury spokesman said.
The 147,000-square-foot Academic Building opened last summer, and campus administrators have given it high marks ever since.
“In the 12 months since it opened, the Academic Building has rejuvenated the College’s academic programming while also revitalizing the campus atmosphere for the students who study with us,” said College President Calvin O. Butts, III, in a release.
The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction – certified, silver, gold and platinum – that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five sustainable design categories.
According to the USGBC, “LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”
To complete the academic building construction, the College and the State University Construction Fund worked with New York-based Kliment Halsband Architects, MPC Corporation, and a wide array of local contractors, and suppliers.
Some of the sustainable design features and practices that were incorporated into the design of the academic building include the maximization of natural light while limiting heat gain; highly efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; more efficient lighting fixtures; and an emphasis on effective stormwater infiltration.
The academic building is expected to use 29 percent less energy than conventional buildings, while the use of water-conserving fixtures inside the building are expected to achieve savings of 48 percent. Approximately 43 percent of the construction materials used in the building came from the region while the use of building materials featuring recycled content at a rate of 44.5 percent helped divert material from landfills and low-toxicity building materials improve indoor air quality.
Landscaping was completed with native and adaptive species that require no permanent irrigation and the building’s design allows for 100 percent of stormwater runoff to permeate the ground through increased landscaping and reduced impervious areas. Fifty-eight percent of outdoor walkways, masonry, seating areas and 100 percent of roof area uses reflective materials to lower cooling loads and reduce heat-island effect.