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Aug. 21, 2009

Chemistry Building addition is first LEED-certified project on campus

EAST LANSING, Mich. — The Chemistry Building might conjure images of white lab coats, glass beakers and stainless steel laboratory equipment, but for Lynda Boomer, MSU’s energy and environmental engineer, the new Chemistry Building addition represents another way to reach MSU’s environmental goals.


The addition has earned the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification, the first LEED-certified project on campus. The LEED-certified green building rating system was created by the USGBC to encourage environmentally friendly design, construction practices and operation of buildings.


The addition was part of an $18 million project that also included laboratory renovations. When many of the Chemistry Building’s classrooms and offices moved over to the addition in fall 2007, it opened up 15,000 square feet of research space. Some of the environmentally friendly features of the addition include recycled green glass in the flooring, low flow fixtures in restrooms, demand ventilation, drip irrigation, recycling stations in the hall and motion sensors for classroom lights.


“The chemistry department was extremely pleased to be part of the first LEED-registered project on campus. The faculty is conducting cutting edge research in green chemistry, so it makes sense for our building to reflect our commitment to sustainability,” department Chairman John McCracken said.


Chemistry faculty Robert Maleczka and Milton Smith earned the 2008 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and colleague Kevin Walker is paving the way for potentially cleaner, more efficient production of cancer-fighting paclitaxel – better known as the blockbuster drug Taxol.


LEED certification is awarded to buildings that register with the USGBC, where points are awarded to structures for green practices in design and construction. LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale, weighted based on environmental impact. There are four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum. Each level of certification is based on the amount of points the structure receives.


“MSU is saving money by voluntarily participating in the rating system, while also being environmentally responsible,” said Bob Nestle, Physical Plant university engineer.


As a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, MSU has committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 6 percent below a 2000 baseline by 2010. Constructing to LEED standards will help the building operate using 25 percent less energy than a typical building of this size.


Construction standards have been revised to ensure that all buildings must be at least LEED-certifiable in ranking when built. Six other MSU buildings are in the registration process: Secchia Center, Grand Rapids (2008); MSU Surplus Store and Recycling Center (2008); Kellogg Biological Station dairy barn, Hickory Corners (2008); Brody Hall (2009); Life Science (2009); and Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum (2010).


“This was truly a team effort and started with the schematic design and goal in mind,” Boomer said.


Project team members included Dan Voss, Mark Zoetman and Dave Clark from Fishbeck, Thompson, Carr & Huber; Mark Haslam from MSU Physical Plant Engineering and Architectural Services; department Chairman McCracken; and Torri Menold from Granger Construction Co.



Michigan State University has been advancing knowledge and transforming lives through innovative teaching, research and outreach for more than 150 years. MSU is known internationally as a major public university with global reach and extraordinary impact. Its 17 degree-granting colleges attract scholars worldwide who are interested in combining education with practical problem solving.