Richland College seeking top tier among energy-efficient buildings in the U.S.
Richland College held a special ground-breaking ceremony last week for its new science building. The event marked the construction of a $40 million, 114,000-square-foot facility that will house Richlandâ€™s science programs, Science Corner, bookstore, coffee bar, and conference rooms.
Features will include special sustainable construction to include the ability to harvest sunlight, underground cisterns to collect and irrigate rain water to other parts of the campus, as well as interactive devices in restrooms that users control to save water. Some building and furnishing materials will be made of recycled materials, such as the carpet and furniture, and local vendors will be utilized as often as possible to minimize exhaust fumes and excess fuel consumption from lengthy transports. A hands-on geology pit, green terrace roof, and monitoring stations to showcase energy efficiency will also be integrated, providing â€œfield learningâ€ for students.
The dÃ©cor will even be eco-friendly, including building integrated science-learning art. World-renowned science artist Larry Kirkland, with the help of Richland science and art faculty and students, is designing science-learning art to illustrate scientific principles and be aesthetically inspiring.
College administrators, architects, and contractors are seeking platinum status under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED is a nationally recognized standard for the design and construction of high-performing green buildings. Currently, there are less than 20 LEED Platinum-certified buildings in the U.S.
â€œThe additional beauty in designing this building to LEED Platinum-certified standards is the return on investment Richland College will experience in the operation of this facility–an operational savings we will experience from the first year of operation and throughout its life cycle,â€ said Mittelstet at the Dec. 6 ceremony.
With reduced operational costs through energy-efficient savings, this building will end up costing less than buildings built through traditional construction methods, saving approximately $200,000 in annual operating costs.
The design and construction of this building is a major step in Richlandâ€™s involvement in the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Educationâ€™s Presidentâ€™s Climate Commitment. This commitment, along with several other initiatives, is part of an ongoing effort to achieve climate neutrality on the Richland campus.
For more information, contact Anitra Cotton at 972-238-6022.