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2008 News Releases

Longwood’s recreation center recognized for energy savings

April 7, 2008

Health and Fitness Center

Longwood University’s recreation center has received the second highest certification for green buildings.

Longwood officials learned in February that the Health & Fitness Center was awarded the Gold level in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System from the U.S. Green Building Council, which recognizes energy savings for new and existing buildings. The recreation center, which opened in August 2007, is the first LEED Gold-certified higher education building in Virginia and the first LEED Gold-certified student recreation center in the Southeast.

“This was a pleasant surprise to all of us,” said J.W. Wood, Longwood’s director of Capital Planning and Construction. “We were going for the Silver rating – third highest of the four levels – and just happened to get the Gold by one point. It caught everyone off-guard.”  The certification is not just for the building itself but includes the process in which the building was constructed.  Dick Bratcher, vice president for Facilities Management and Real Property, said the award “recognizes that Longwood has used construction methods that are environmentally friendly and that goes all the way from groundbreaking through the recycling of construction byproducts and waste materials.”

The building’s green features include waterless urinals, low-flow showers and lavatories to reduce water use by 40 percent; HVAC equipment free of ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons and Halons; a carbon dioxide monitoring system to help provide adequate ventilation; walk-off mats at main entrances that reduce the amount of pollutants entering the building; adhesives, sealants, paints, carpet and composite wood products with low or no volatile organic compounds; Forest Stewardship Council-certified athletic wood floors, casework and wood doors; 54 percent regionally manufactured materials; 28 percent recycled content materials; and construction waste management that resulted in more than 98 percent of the waste being recycled rather than taken to the landfill.

LEED certification, developed in 2000, is a point-based system in which construction projects earn points for satisfying specific green building criteria in each of six categories. The areas examined include sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The LEED rating system “encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through…universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria,” according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

“There’s a huge checklist of items when you apply for LEED rating,” Wood said. “The Platinum and Gold ratings are more expensive than the others, especially Platinum, and you can reach a point of diminishing returns where it’s just not worth it to go for some of the features. The LEED rating for this building will pay for itself in four to five years with the energy savings, which we project to be 43 percent. With the upcoming renovation and expansion of Bedford Hall, we’ll try to get some kind of LEED rating, both for the renovation and the expansion. In fact, from now on, we’ll try to either achieve LEED standards or get a LEED rating with every new project.”

Applications for LEED certification are submitted by the architect when a project is completed. The architect for the Health & Fitness Center was Moseley Architects of Virginia Beach, and Hastings & Chivetta of St. Louis was the design consultant. The general contractor for the $13.6 million building at the corner of South Main and Franklin streets was J.E. Jamerson & Sons Inc. of Appomattox.