Lehman College’s new Science Hall has earned a prestigious LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the only teaching/research lab in New York City to receive the council’s highest award.
The hall, designed by Perkins+Will and built by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, is the first CUNY building to win the Platinum designation. It is one of only nine Platinum higher-education projects in the state and is the fourth Platinum lab in the state.
The eco-friendly hall is part of the overall sustainability plan. It joins two Gold-Certified buildings, the CUNY School of Law and The Summit residence hall at Queens College, and two LEED-Silver buildings, the Bronx Community College North Hall and Library and Hunter College’s School of Social Work. The two science towers under construction at City College and the new College of Staten Island dormitory are applying for LEED Gold Certification, and a new building at New York City College of Technology is going for Silver.
The Science Hall, which hosted its first classes in Spring 2013, earned its certification for an array of environmentally sustainable technologies, including a rainwater/greywater system to clean and re-circulate water for use in toilets, and rooftop solar panels to heat the building’s water. It is also equipped with a rooftop teaching and research greenhouse.
“Science Hall at Lehman College symbolizes CUNY’s commitment to creating state-of-the-art buildings that will enhance its educational mission while reducing the University’s carbon footprint and increasing energy efficiency dramatically,” Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly said.
The four-story building is the first of a three-phase complex that will create a “campus within a campus” at Lehman College dedicated to the sciences. It was constructed with $70 million in funding from New York State, through the CUNY Capital Program. Capital funding for the rooftop greenhouse of $1.5 million was provided by the New York City Council.
Iris Weinshall, vice chancellor for facilities planning, construction and management, noted that the University has set an ambitious goal to have as much as a quarter of its facilities portfolio, which includes many historic and landmark buildings, energy efficient by 2017. “This is a huge and important task that we are making great strides to achieve,” she said.
Lehman President Ricardo R. Fernández said that Science Hall “represents the college’s commitment to a culture of environmental responsibility and the creation and adoption of clean- energy innovations on campus and throughout New York City.”
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance. The nonprofit council, based in Washington, D.C., is committed to achieving a sustainable future through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.
More than 18,000 projects have achieved LEED certification worldwide, yet fewer than 1,200 have been awarded the highest designation of Platinum. Sixty-seven of those are in New York State, including the Fifth Avenue headquarters of Tiffany and Co. and One Bryant Park, the New York headquarters of Bank of America and third tallest skyscraper in the city.
“With each new LEED-certified building, we get one step closer to our vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, Lehman College is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”
According to the council, buildings are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of water consumption nationwide.
The council estimates that greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building could generate 2.5 million American jobs.