Lehman College’s new Science Hall has won the nation’s top honor for sustainable, environmentally efficient design, LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first university-level teaching and research facility in New York City to receive this designation, and just the fourth in the state.
Now in its first year of operation, the Lehman Science Hall in the Bronx is the fifth City University of New York building to earn LEED certification, which has four categories – certified, silver, gold and platinum – each signifying benchmarks in design, construction and operation of high-performance, environmentally conscious construction. The CUNY School of Law and The Summit residence hall at Queens College have Gold Certification. Hunter College’s School of Social Work and Bronx Community College’s North Hall and Library have Silver Certification.
Every new CUNY building and major renovation project is designed with the LEED sustainability criteria in mind. Several research facilities in the construction pipeline will seek certification, including a multi-building, advanced research complex on the City College campus in Harlem and the new College of Staten Island dormitory, which aim for Gold Certification, and a new building at New York City College of Technology in downtown Brooklyn, which will seek Silver.
Interim Chancellor William P. Kelly stated: “The 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.”
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. The facility was constructed with $70 million in funding provided by New York State, through the CUNY Capital Program. Capital funding for the rooftop greenhouse of $1.5 million was provided by an allocation from the New York City Council.
Iris Weinshall, CUNY’s 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 CUNY’s 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.
“This project and its Platinum rating reflects Lehman 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,” said President Ricardo R. Fernández. “Science Hall and its potential represent the best of what public higher education can achieve for our society.”
The facility was designed by the architectural firm Perkins+Will and built by the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York. Contractors included construction manager Gilbane Construction Corp., general contractor Calcedo Construction, B&G Electric, Aspro Plumbing, and BP Mechanical.
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 approaches. USGBC is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit 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 achieved the highest designation of Platinum. Sixty-seven of those are in New York State, including the Fifth Avenue headquarters of Tiffany and Company, 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, 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 USGBC, buildings are responsible for 39 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption and 13 percent of water consumption nationwide. 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, according to USGBC estimates.
Breeze Glazer, Research Knowledge Manager and LEED AP with Perkins+Will, said: “This building fundamentally validates the notion that achieving LEED Platinum certification is possible on a modest institutional budget. With an experienced design and construction team and a dedicated owner, LEED Platinum proved to be a near cost neutral effort that will benefit CUNY throughout the lifecycle of the building.”
About The City University of New York:
The City University of New York is the nation’s leading urban public university. Founded in New York City in 1847, the University is comprised of 24 institutions: 11 senior colleges, seven community colleges, the William E. Macaulay Honors College at CUNY, the CUNY Graduate School and University Center, the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, the CUNY School of Law, the CUNY School of Professional Studies and the CUNY School of Public Health. The University serves more than 269,000 degree credit students and 218,083 adult, continuing and professional education students.College Now, the University’s academic enrichment program, is offered at CUNY campuses and more than 300 high schools throughout the five boroughs of New York City. The University offers online baccalaureate degrees through the School of Professional Studies and an individualized baccalaureate through the CUNY Baccalaureate Degree. Nearly 3 million unique visitors and 10 million page views are served each month via www.cuny.edu, the University’s website.