A $5 million construction project completed in August 2010 not only renovated Wittenberg University's historic Blair Hall into a state-of-the-art educational facility, but it was done in an environmentally conscious manner that resulted in the first LEED certification in Clark County.
University officials were recently notified that Blair Hall had attained Gold certification through LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building certification system. Since 1998, more than 7,000 projects across 30 countries have been certified at one of four levels of certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
"We are thrilled to gain Gold LEED certification for Blair Hall," said University President Mark H. Erickson. "This achievement reflects the broad campus commitment to sustainability and responsible stewardship of our environment. Special thanks also to members of our Board of Directors for their support of this project, especially Lewis Shaw '64, who advocated for the project to be as environmentally friendly as possible."
Blair Hall visitors have access to the most environmentally friendly facility in Clark County.
LEED promotes sustainable building through an accreditation system registered by the United States Green Building Council and evaluated on a point system covering seven environmental impact areas: sustainable site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation and design process, and regional priority credits. The system provides for third-party verification that a building was built or renovated using strategies intended to comply with these standards.
The end result isn't just good for the environment. It makes Wittenberg a safer and cleaner community, and it has a significant potential impact upon the university's budget. Estimated heating, ventilation and air conditioning savings total more than $6,500 per year, while total water use savings are estimated at $140 per year.
In addition, LEED certification for Blair Hall fulfills one of the pledges made in the university's commitment to sustainability that Erickson signed in 2010.
"A number of benefits are achieved by building and/or renovating to LEED certification standards," said Director of Physical Plant John Paulsen. "In addition to using resources more efficiently when compared to conventional projects built to building code standards, LEED certified buildings provide healthier work and living environments."