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Engineering Research Building earns gold certification for sustainable designs

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It’s not just the scholars inside the new Engineering Research Building who are working to make the world better. The building itself is helping out. The 234,000-square-foot facility, which opened in early 2011, earned LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its incorporation of sustainable building practices.

The building’s environmentally sensitive design and energy-saving features are fitting complements to the cutting-edge science and engineering research taking place inside,” UT Arlington President James D. Spaniolo says.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification is the foremost program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings. Launched in March 2000, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing sustainable practices.

In granting the certification, the Green Building Council cited the facility’s numerous energy-saving features, such as occupancy sensors, reduced exterior lighting power, shading devices, multiple green and light-reflecting roofs, and windows designed to make efficient use of available light. It also pointed to the building’s water efficiency, with low-flow water fixtures in the sinks and restrooms as well as rain and condensate water capture for landscaping and irrigation. Moreover, about 28 percent of the building materials came from recycled products.

John Hall, vice president for administration and campus operations, views the LEED Gold certification as a milestone in campus development at UT Arlington.

The lessons learned during this project provide a foundation from which we will shape other projects, including College Park Center,” he says.

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