Only nine education buildings in Oregon, and only 12 percent of all LEED-certified buildings worldwide have reached platinum status.
It’s not an easy task to achieve, but the university says it was a challenge worth taking.
The 103-thousand square foot space was designed to fall in line with the campus goal of reducing its carbon footprint. And the university says it’s very fitting that the Lewis Integrated Science Building was chosen for the honor.
“The idea of studying, exploration and new discoveries, why not extend that to the way you design the building itself,” said Chris Ramey, University Architect.
During the LEED certification process, buildings earn points to satisfy green requirements. There are several features of the lab that made this achievement possible.
“One of the features that you can see immediately are the materials…(there) is the wall of bamboo, which is a rapidly renewable resource. The polished concrete floors don’t need to be waxed and maintained,” said Emily Ang, Planning Associate.
There is exterior solar shading and green cleaning products, but it doesn’t end there.
“The most interesting one is the one you can’t see. The building actually reuses excess heat. It’s near a utility tunnel and the steam runs in the tunnel. Although we try to be very efficient, some of it leaks out,” Ramey said.
About 17 percent of the building’s energy savings result from this process. And in the total, the building actually uses 62 percent less energy than similar buildings with energy-intensive labs for biologists and chemists. The UO says the savings aren’t the only benefit.
“It’s so awesome for us to have this really wonderful building on the campus that demonstrates our commitment to sustainability, sustainable development, and does it in a way that’s a teaching tool,” Ramey said.
The project was made possible through State of Oregon general bonds and donations and took about four years, including design, to complete.