By Monica Chapman
New standards for renovation and design mark the latest step in a string of initiatives aimed at improving building efficiency at Ohio University. The new policy, which goes into effect immediately, will seek to meet or exceed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification standards for all new construction and renovation projects.
This marks the first time that Ohio University has committed to LEED certification -- the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. According to Associate Vice President for Facilities Harry Wyatt, renovations to 15 Park Place and the Scripps College of Communication will be the first to be affected by the new design standards.
LEED certification is part of a broader commitment by the facilities department to using sustainability as a guiding principal. This commitment was formalized last October, when the Board of Trustees approved a plan to address House Bill 251 -- a bill aimed at improving energy efficiency in state-funded facilities. Among other measures, Ohio University's HB 251 Implementation Plan included new design standards, emphasizing efficiency and environmental sustainability.
"The next logical step for us was to peg our standards to a national known certification that would reflect our commitment to sustainability and meeting the goals of House Bill 251," Wyatt said.
Created by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED Certification levels reflect a project's commitment to sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design. The number of points the project earns in each of these categories determines the level of LEED Certification the project receives.
At Ohio University, decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis as to what level of certification is appropriate to a particular project, said Wyatt. Two standards are higher than silver.
Sustainability Coordinator Sonia Marcus stressed that the commitment to LEED is part of on-going efforts to improve the university's environmental performance, supported through the Five-Year Vision OHIO Implementation Plan.
"Thinking about our campus infrastructure from an efficiency and sustainability perspective is nothing new here," she said. "What's new is that we will be using a nationally recognized standard for green building to help us integrate sustainability into all aspects of our construction and renovation projects and that will continually challenge us to set the bar higher."