Beck Academic Hall at Gustavus Adolphus College has earned LEED Platinum certification—the highest rating attainable—from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 125,000 square foot, $30 million building is just the third academic facility in the state of Minnesota to achieve LEED Platinum certification.
“Environmental sustainability was integrated into all aspects of the design and construction of Beck Academic Hall and that was very intentional,” Gustavus President Jack Ohle said. “Gustavus strives to be a leader among colleges and universities when it comes to sustainability practices and taking care of the Earth and so achieving LEED Platinum certification for Beck Hall was a priority.”
Beck Hall was constructed in 2010 and is modeled to save 44 percent more energy and 30 percent more water than typical code requires. The shape of the building allows for ample daylighting in occupied spaces, while locally quarried Kasota limestone adorns much of the exterior of the building. High-efficiency condensing boilers are used for heating the building, while a comprehensive set of solar panels, both photovoltaic (electricity) as well as solar thermal (hot water) sit atop the building’s roof.
A rigorous indoor air quality program was supported throughout construction, including wrapping and enclosing ductwork to prevent dust infiltration. In addition, 75 percent of the construction waste was recycled. Other features that led to the LEED Platinum certification include minimal site disturbance, stormwater management, bicycle storage, reduced light pollution, water-efficient landscaping, use of recycled content in building materials, use of low VOC emitting construction materials, greater use of occupant-controllable lighting and thermal comfort systems, and designated parking spaces for low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles.
To educate visitors and building occupants on the sustainability aspects of the building, including real-time energy consumption and production, a monitor “dashboard” is located in the lobby.
“Beck Hall’s LEED Platinum certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Beck Hall serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”
Beck Hall houses the academic departments of Communication Studies, Economics and Management, History, Psychology, and Sociology and Anthropology. The building is named after alumni Warren ’67 and Donna ’66 Beck, acknowledging a generous gift to the College from the couple. The building sits to the west of the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library along the new West Mall. Beck Hall was designed by BWBR Architects and constructed by Kraus-Anderson Construction Company.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. More than 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising more than eight billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.
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