LEED certification is a guiding accredited program that encourages buildings to be more environmentally friendly, through design, materials and future energy consumptions. Right now it is a driving force for the way many buildings are being designed and even the way that they are constructed including the recycling practices that happen while being built and after completion.
In North Carolina at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), many changes are taking place to adopt better sustainable practices including the design of two recently opened LEED certified buildings. Both opened in 2011, with the Nursing Department Building receiving LEED Silver and the Chidley North Resident Hall receiving LEED Gold.Chidley North LEED Gold
Chidley North cost $24 million and was designed by the architectural firm Lord Aeck & Sargent. It consists of 133,000 SF, 4-stories and 520 beds, plus encourages group socialization and education with meeting areas and computer labs.
“Making the extra effort to achieve gold certification doesn’t just make environmental sense, it also makes economic sense,” said Zack Abegunrin, associate vice chancellor for facilities management. “We will save money on maintenance and energy consumption for many years to come.”
The building was constructed of Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF), has an energy recovery system which reduces the difference between exterior and interior air temperature and humidity by 50 percent, and also has an aluminum sunshade assembly system. The building materials that were implemented were exposed, polished concrete walls, poured-in-place concrete floors and a zinc roof which is expected to last at least 75 years.
Even while under construction LEED demands responsibility for waste materials, which NCCU met head on with 97 percent of its construction waste being recycled.
Besides these two now accredited buildings the campus is making other sustainable changes:
- Replacing older fluorescent and incandescent lighting with new LED lighting
- Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane assemblies to lower heating and cooling costs
- Upgrading HVAC, lighting and water systems
This campus is becoming a sustainable landmark and with the help of the newly opened LEED Gold Resident Hall, all students are able to bask in the ‘green’ glow.
Right now LEED is how buildings’ sustainability is measured. In the future, hopefully, LEED is just a normal practice where all buildings are concerned, no longer a certification needed and NCCU will be a welcome example for future changes.