Year-old Poly buildings earn gold LEED certification

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009
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The Polytechnic campus’ Academic Complex features more than 3,500 tons of recycled asphalt and concrete and 5,000 square feet of recycled concrete, making up the most sustainable buildings on campus. Last week, its sustainable features earned it special recognition.

The gold certificate was from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership and Energy and Environmental Design program and is the second-highest certification that can be received.

Other features of the three buildings include waterless urinals and 100 percent outdoor air to ensure better air quality.

ASU, along with RPS Architects and DPR Construction Inc., collaborated on this project, which was completed in fall 2008.

Beau Dromiack, lead designer on the project, said one of the main challenges was dealing with the grounds, which used to be an Air Force base.

“Nearly every time we dug into the ground, we found something that was there from many, many years ago — usually something we weren’t expecting,” Dromiack said.

Steve Bernhart, associate director of ASU’s Capital Programs Management Group said to receive a LEED certificate, buildings need to score points in six different categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process.

To receive a gold certificate, ASU had to earn between 39 and 51 points.

Polytechnic’s Academic Complex received 42 points out of 69 points overall.

“One of the reasons we were given this certificate is probably because of how dedicated ASU is to sustainability,” Bernhart said.

The total cost for the complex was $103 million, he said. The buildings contain mostly classrooms, offices and labs, he said.

“Sustainable buildings tend to cost more, but there are many more benefits to having buildings like this,” Bernhart said. “I think students are sophisticated when it comes to the environment and our impact on it, so I think they would understand the benefits.”

The buildings have many sustainable features, Dromiack said.

“We recycled the concrete sidewalks that we would normally have had to move to a landfill,” he said. “So we had that material on-site, and we didn’t have to truck it away, dump in a landfill, use fuel or any of that. In addition, we used a lot of local material.”

Aviation graduate student Matt McCoy, president of the Associated Students of Arizona State University Polytechnic Campus, said he was extremely impressed with the complex and can see why it received gold certification.

“It’s a very efficient building,” he said. “We only have air conditioning in the actual classrooms and offices, which saves a ton of energy.”

McCoy said students recognize the building as green because of the prominent signs displayed outside and inside the building.

“I think this building is very deserving of this award,” he said. “It really is obvious that people put time and effort into making this a sustainable place.”

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