Connecticut College News
Science Center at New London Hall earns LEED Gold certification05/10/2013
Chad Jones, the Milne Assistant Professor of Botany and Environmental Sciences at Connecticut College, left, helps first-year botany students prepare to plant seedlings in the renovated greenhouse.
Connecticut College’s new Science Center at New London Hall, which opened on the first day of classes in late August, has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s pre-eminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.
“Connecticut College’s new science center is a state-of-the-art facility for the hands-on, personalized and rigorous science education offered here and a shining example of our commitment to sustainability,” said President Leo I. Higdon Jr.
The science center is the College’s third building project to earn LEED certification in the last five years. Silfen Auditorium, the College’s largest classroom, was certified LEED Silver after it was renovated in 2008 and the College’s new fitness center, which opened in 2009, is also certified LEED Silver.
The $25.3 million science center project, funded almost entirely with gifts to the College, completely transformed the campus’s oldest building with a top-to-bottom renovation and 14,000-net-square-foot addition. The iconic greenhouse, used for plant research and the teaching of botany, was also completely renovated.
“Renovating and converting the oldest building on campus to the most environmentally friendly was an exciting challenge for our design, construction and management team,” said Vice President for Administration Ulysses B. Hammond, who oversaw the building project. “We were able to reuse most of the structural elements of the building.”
Built in accordance with the College’s Green Building Policy, the science center was outfitted with a number of “green” features, including a $1 million Geothermal system will heat and cool new Science Center, high-efficiency frame hoods, energy-saving lighting and water-saving plumbing fixtures. Additionally, 95 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills and sent to recycling centers, 21 percent of the materials used in the building were made from recycled products and 26 percent of the building materials were manufactured or extracted from within a 500-mile radius of the construction site.
“In designing this building, we considered everything and made a number of decisions to enhance long-term sustainability,” Hammond said. To reduce the need for artificial lighting, for example, 95 percent of the spaces in the building have direct access to daylight. The building is also equipped with bicycle racks and a shower and changing area to encourage faculty and staff to bike to work.
The science center is now home to the biology, botany and computer science departments, and forms a “science triangle” near the campus main entrance with nearby F.W. Olin Science Center and Hale Laboratory, which house most of the College's other science departments.