New college buildings go for LEED platinum, gold; any other buildings in Northfield?

According to the Wikipedia, “the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), provides a suite of standards for environmentally sustainable construction.”

Regents Hall webcam screenshot Carleton residence halls Carleton residence halls

St. Olaf is aiming for LEED Platinum for its Regents Hall of Natural and Mathematical Sciences building, opening today. (Left photo is actually a Webcam shot from 6:56am today.)

Carleton is going for LEED Gold for its new residence halls (center and right photos), due to be completed next fall.

St. Olaf’s Assistant Vice President for Facilities Pete Sandberg has a Regents Countdown blog, and his Aug. 14 post titled Green has a great explanation of green building concepts.

pete-small We need to remember right at the start that buildings really don’t use energy, the people and their programs use energy. If the program can require less energy, the building will instantly perform better. Maybe the most important green element of Regents Hall then is the commitment of St. Olaf chemistry to a move to mostly water based reactions – known as, what else? Green chemistry.

Because the building does have laboratories, and also because all of the air that is used to ventilate labs must then be exhausted from the building, it is possible to have a science building that is a huge energy hog…

Ross blogged about LEED in March 2007 here and here, and Tracy blogged about LEED in Oct. 2006 here. Are we making any progress?


  1. Anne Bretts said:

    LEED isn’t just for new buildings. Older buildings can be updated to meet LEED standards, although it can be difficult. There is a 100-year-old building in Mpls. that is going for gold certification.
    Here it could mean that if the library solution is an expansion, the new space can be built to LEED standards and the old space can be retrofitted. Of course, the new safety center would be an easy test project — and would serve as a model to show local builders and developers how to execute the standards.
    LEED certification does raise the cost, but it also provides long-term operating savings that can recoup the investment in a reasonable amount of time.

    September 2, 2008
  2. Anne, LEED certification came up a few times during the public input meetings the library held in May and June. While of course we’re still at early stages, I think the will is there to make the expanded library a green building.

    I haven’t heard anything about LEED for the new police station, but since they’re building from the ground up and have no existing facility to match character with (like the library), they really have no excuse to not make it as low-impact as possible.

    September 4, 2008
  3. Anne Bretts said:

    Sean, good point, but since basic LEED certification isn’t a huge leap from good basic construction these days, it just makes sense to make it apply to the safety center and anything else.
    I also wondered, after the City Hall flap, how hard it would be to incorporate a City Hall wing as part of the safety center. After all, with just offices and a meeting room, building new might not be a lot more expensive than remodeling the current building. And it would put most city offices in one highly visitle place and keep them convenient to the public works building.
    There might not be enough land, but it’s worth consideration.

    September 6, 2008

Leave a Reply