UConn’s Laurel Hall Achieves University’s First Gold LEED Certification

Ann McClure's picture

Skanska USA

STORRS, Conn. - Laurel Hall, a 67,000-square-foot classroom building that opened in 2011 on the University of Connecticut's flagship Storrs campus, has received LEED Gold Certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction.

The certification is the highest achieved so far for a building at UConn, which has been following LEED "green" standards for all new construction design and renovation projects since adopting a policy in 2007 for sustainable methods in all major projects.

LEED-certified buildings are designed with environmentally friendly factors in mind to reduce operating costs, conserve energy and water, cut down on waste sent to landfills, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure a healthy working environment for occupants. The U.S. Green Building Council confers the certification after a review process.

"Achieving our first LEED Gold Certified new building at UConn, especially combined with our progress over the past few years retrofitting existing buildings to make them more energy and water efficient, shows a strong institutional commitment not only to conserving natural resources but also to providing high-performance buildings for educating our students," says Richard A. Miller, UConn's director of environmental policy.

"Laurel Hall's LEED Gold certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Al Gogolin, senior vice president who oversees Skanska USA Building's Connecticut operations. "Reaching this distinguished status is a true testament to the hard work and collaboration of the team who worked on this project, including our partners - the campus officials, planners, designers and architects. Constructing energy-efficient, highly sustainable buildings is part of Skanska's DNA, and we couldn't be more proud to have helped one of the nation's leading institutions achieve this excellent recognition."

Laurel Hall was designed to include features such as energy-saving window glazing, low-flow valves and faucets, high-performance insulation, and use of rapidly renewable materials such as bamboo, recycled copper and other "green" materials.

It also has indoor air quality controls, drought-resistant and adaptable plantings, water-efficient bathroom fixtures, and a feature known as a "green roof" in which vegetation covering the roof reduces stormwater runoff and helps cut down on heating and cooling costs.

"There's no better way than green, resource-efficient buildings to reduce the University's carbon footprint, and our sustainable design and construction policy is another important reason that UConn was ranked by the Sierra Club among the top five greenest colleges in the nation last year," Miller says.

Laurel Hall contains two large lecture halls seating 200 and 400, and 17 other classrooms that seat between 25 and 70. It opened in fall 2011, and is the first building on campus dedicated solely to classrooms.

Skanska USA Building Inc. was the general contractor, and Boston-based Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects served as the project architect and engineer.

UConn also holds silver certification on two buildings on the Storrs campus: the Charles B. Gentry Building, and the Burton Family Football Complex & Mark R. Shenkman Training Center. That complex was the first athletic facility in the NCAA to receive silver certification.

Several other UConn projects also have been registered with LEED for consideration for certification. They include Oak Hall, which opened in 2012 adjacent to Laurel and is built to standards intended to place it in contention for LEED Gold Certification.

Others registered to be considered for LEED certification include the Carolyn Ladd Widmer Wing of Storrs Hall; the renovated and expanded McMahon Dining facility; the renovated Wilfred B. Young Building; the Bousfield Psychology Building; the Torrey Life Sciences Building; and the Student Center at the Avery Point campus.

Another project, the UConn Basketball Development Center, also has been registered for consideration based on its design, which includes a broad variety of "green" features. Groundbreaking on that structure is expected this spring.

The U.S. Green Building Council's review process takes about 12 to 18 months from the time that a building project is completed, so UConn will hear sooner about certification on already-occupied structures than those still under construction or design.

About Skanska USA

Skanska USA is one of the largest, most financially sound construction and development networks in the country, serving a broad range of industries including healthcare, education, sports, data centers, government, aviation, transportation, power, energy, water/wastewater and commercial. Headquartered in New York with 39 offices across the country, Skanska USA employs approximately 9,400 employees committed to sustainable construction and development and an injury-free workplace. Skanska USA Building, which specializes in building construction, and Skanska USA Civil, which focuses on civil infrastructure, generated $4.9 billion in revenue in 2011, representing 28 percent of Skanska's global construction revenues. Development units Skanska USA Commercial Development, which invests in and develops office and multi-family projects in select U.S. markets, and Skanska Infrastructure Development Americas, which develops public-private partnerships, are both leaders in their selected markets. Global revenue of parent company Skanska AB, headquartered in Stockholm and listed on the Stockholm Stock Exchange, totaled $18.9 billion in 2011.

For more information visit http://www.usa.skanska.com/