Last week we had a special meeting to review the status of where our new building is with regard to LEED status. I blogged about this once before in my May 28, 2012 blog. At that point, we were still working on the design of the new building, but we had not started construction.
The State of Utah, and USU, expect new buildings to meet certain environment-friendly standards when it comes to design, operations and maintenance. These standards are set by an independent, internationally-recognized organization called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. This private organization offers a list of specific green building standards and award points to organizations that meet those standards. Depending on how many points are earned, a project could win a silver, gold or platinum medal. The state and the university require our project to qualify for at least a silver medal. About half of the points are based on the design of the building, and about half are based on the method of construction. Since we are now well into construction, it was time to do a formal review of where we stand on LEED points.
I am pleased to report that we are still in good shape to qualify for silver, and we might still qualify for gold.
In some cases, reaching certain levels can increase costs, so we have to be strategic as we decide where to invest our limited resources. As we have said from the beginning, it is unrealistic for us to reach platinum – the cost to reach platinum is beyond our budget. This LEED review gives me some peace of mind. A few weeks ago we faced a decision of pursuing a LEED point, but the additional cost to the building would have been about $130,000. I chose to save the $130,000. However, we are still in good shape despite sacrificing a point.