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Clarkson Student Center receives environmentally friendly certification


POTSDAM — Clarkson University’s Student Center will serve as a model for all future construction on campus, not because of its aesthetic appeal or state-of-the-art facilities, but because it has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Certification.

The recognition is a benchmark for energy efficiency and environmental friendliness, said Shannon M. Robinson, Clarkson director of project management.

“It has huge implications for the university,” Ms. Robinson said. “It demonstrates our commitment to sustainable facilities and practices, and it has set our standards on campus for any new construction on campus.”

Moving forward, she said, buildings will be designed to a minimum of LEED Silver specifications.

LEED is an internationally recognized system developed by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED-certified buildings use resources more efficiently and provide healthier living and working spaces.

The 60,000-square-foot building, completed in 2010, features connections to the adjacent library and Center for Advanced Materials Processing; the three share portions of heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.

“We have this concept of shared synergies that eliminates the need for dedicated boilers for the Student Center, so we can share resources between buildings,” Ms. Robinson said.

The building also was constructed to maximize the use of recycled materials while minimizing waste.

“Eighty-five percent of our construction waste that was generated as part of the project was diverted from landfills,” Ms. Robinson said. “Eighteen percent of the materials were composed of recycled contents; 20 percent of the building’s materials were extracted or harvested or recovered within 500 miles. These are all things that fall under our meeting some of the LEED requirements.”

The center also has efficient fixtures in its kitchens and bathrooms to curb water waste.

“We’ve reduced water consumption by over 38 percent,” Ms. Robinson said.

Though LEED Certification does not bring fiscal inducements, it does fulfill Clarkson’s goal of creating a more sustainable campus.

“Even though there are no incentives, it is something Clarkson is committed to,” Ms. Robinson said. “It is the right thing to do.”

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