Another honor for university’s sustainable building practice

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) awarded Washington University in St. Louis one of its 2021 Leadership Awards for excellence in its West North Central Region.

The university was recognized for five buildings on the Danforth Campus achieving the USGBC’s highest green building certification: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum. Four buildings on the East End Transformation — Sumers Welcome Center, Weil Hall, Schnuck Pavilion and Jubel Hall — as well as the renovated January Hall, were all issued platinum status at the same time, further differentiating the university’s commitment to sustainable building practice.

“The 2021 USGBC Leadership Award awardees have improved our world through the power of green building and it is their contributions and work that have helped our communities stay safe and healthy,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC.

While this is the latest accolade for the $360 million project, which reimagined and reinvigorated the eastern portion of the Danforth Campus, it is not the only plaudit the project has received. Architect Magazine featured the east end project in a cover story that focused on the intersection between sustainability and campus planning. The project also won a top recognition from the Society for College and University Planners.

 “Washington University’s commitment to sustainable building practice is a core institutional priority, not just for our campus, but for the St. Louis area as a whole,” said Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for civic affairs and strategic planning. “We strive to be good stewards of our resources and limit our collective environmental impact throughout our operations, as evidenced by the five recent LEED Platinum certifications. We are pleased to have been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with its Leadership Award.”

We are pleased to have been recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with its Leadership Award.

Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for civic affairs and strategic planning

The east end’s four buildings were designed to be 30% more efficient than standard buildings, and heat-recovery chillers harvest waste heat for much of their climate control needs. The project transformed a former parking lot into the expansive Tisch Park, which features rain gardens and native plantings that encourage bio-retention. An extensive parking structure, designed for future adaptive use as lab or classroom space, was built underground.

The outside came in at Weil Hall, in the form of a lush, living green wall, and low-carbon transportation methods are encouraged with a new bike commuter facility, including showers and lockers. These factors were among those considered by the USGBC when it awarded the Platinum certifications to the project.

January Hall’s Platinum designation came after extensive renovations to the building, originally constructed in 1922. The building’s environmental performance was significantly upgraded while respecting its history and heritage. The January Hall project also was certified under LEED v4, the newest version of the rating system, which raised the bar for each of the certification levels.

The USGBC’s West North Central includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. For more information about the organization and all of this year’s Leadership Award winners, visit the USGBC website.

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