McCracken Hall is OHIO’s first full building to receive LEED Gold Certification

McCracken Hall is OHIO’s first full building to receive LEED Gold Certification
Published: November 29, 2018 Author: Tony Meale

The Patton College of Education’s McCracken Hall achieved LEED Gold certification from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, thus showing its commitment to sustainability. It is the first full building on campus to earn Gold status.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community meets various environmental metrics, including energy savings, water efficiency, and stewardship of resources.

“The McCracken project has become the gold standard for sustainability at Ohio University,” said Sam Crowl, OHIO Sustainability Project Coordinator. “Not only did the building earn LEED Gold certification, but The Patton College made it a point to install permanent educational features that inform McCracken users of the building’s sustainable attributes.”

Indeed, McCracken Hall’s $32.8 million renovation, completed in January 2017, offers students a true 21st-century learning experience. The College’s green-friendly renovation can be felt throughout the building and is summarized on its LEED Wall, which is housed on the third floor. The wall contains various icons and blurbs, as well as an interactive monitor that allows visitors to learn more about the building’s environmentally friendly features, including OHIO’s first green roof, which uses rainfall to conserve water and sustain plant life.

“The Patton College’s core values center on serving society responsibly to create a better future, and we cannot do that without respecting the environment,” said Patton College Dean Renée A. Middleton. “As a College and as a University, we must set an example for our students.”

LEED is the most widely used green-building rating system in the world. It provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

Projects pursuing LEED certification can earn points across several categories, including energy use and air quality. Based on the number of points achieved, a project can earn one of four LEED levels: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points), or Platinum (80+ points). McCracken Hall received 62 points.

In addition to a green roof and outdoor terrace, the building features LED lighting, which eliminates toxic mercury, and made thermal improvements to exterior walls and windows, which will lead to 40 and 45 percent energy savings on heating and cooling, respectively. The building will also realize, at minimum, 30 percent water reduction, and half of the electricity used in McCracken Hall is generated by renewable energy such as wind and solar.

The original infrastructure, meanwhile, was also an exercise in reuse. Instead of demolishing McCracken Hall and constructing a new building from scratch, more than 90 percent of the original building’s exterior walls, roof, and floor structure were retained. The Patton College also sought to preserve green space around McCracken Hall. Despite losing 30 trees during construction, the College saved numerous trees and planted 44 new ones. The renovation also called for the installation of dozens of bike racks to encourage emissions-free commuting.

Under OHIO’s Sustainability Plan, all building and renovation projects budgeted at or above $2 million must achieve LEED Silver certification or higher. The university defines sustainability as “the ability to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”

“The Office of Sustainability and Architecture, Design & Construction are very proud that Ohio University is now home to a dozen LEED certified projects, which encompass over 875,000 square feet of sustainably built space,” said Crowl. “The LEED rating system helps ensure that faculty, staff, and students are able to work and learn in buildings that are healthier for people and the environment.”

LEED Wall in McCracken

Photographer: Kim BarlagThe LEED Wall, which is housed on the third floor, informs McCracken users of the building’s sustainable attributes and environmentally friendly features.

Green Roof at McCracken Hall

Photographer: Gabe HannahsOhio University’s first green roof, pictured in winter, serves as a roof and uses rainfall to conserve water and sustain plant life.