CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s Weatherford Hall, home of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program, has become certified as a “green” building by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED. The 1928 building is the first residential building on the OSU campus to receive this designation.
A program of the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a voluntary national standard for developing environmentally sustainable buildings.
Kelley Engineering Center is the only other completed building at OSU that is LEED certified. It is certified gold, the second highest rating. According to Brandon Trelstad, campus sustainability coordinator, all future capital construction projects at OSU, including new buildings and major remodels, will be LEED certified silver or equivalent.
"Weatherford Hall is a place where our students eat, live, learn, and socialize,” said College of Business Dean Ilene Kleinsorge. “Being LEED certified is consistent with the building’s role as a model for sustainable development in not only physical facilities but also a model for living including a collaborative, interdisciplinary, and innovation program.”
LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. Five key areas are looked at for obtaining this certification: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.
“In order to get certified by LEED, you really have to engage in this process from the beginning as the building construction or renovation is being designed,” said Tom Scheuermann, director of University Housing & Dining Services at OSU.
Although Weatherford Hall was built in 1928, it underwent a $20 million renovation in 2004, thanks in part to a donation by Ken and Joan Austin. Now the building houses nearly 300 students in what is the largest residential entrepreneurship program in the country.
Scheuermann said the goal during the remodel was to make Weatherford as “green” as possible, from the materials used to remodel the building, to how the site was prepared and what was done with the leftover materials.
Some of the key factors in Weatherford receiving a LEED certification include:
• Using low-impact, environmentally-friendly materials for paint, adhesives and carpet;
• Building the ventilation, electrical systems, heating and plumbing to be as efficient as possible;
• At least 75 percent of the building materials were recycled. In one case, an old dining center that had been attached to Weatherford in 1959 was torn down. The concrete was chopped into small pieces, which were used to fill in the basement floor;
• Native plants and trees were planted. And in the front lawn of Weatherford, “eco-lawn” was planted. Eco-lawn was developed by OSU researcher Tom Cook and is a mixture of grasses, flowers, and herbs that looks like grass, but is weed resistant and needs less water.
Scheuermann said making Weatherford a more sustainable building not only makes financial sense in terms of energy savings, but it serves as an educational model for the students and faculty who live in the building.
“It is an educational opportunity for students and it is in keeping with the College of Business, our department, and the university’s sustainability goals.”