CU’s Center for Community building earns LEED platinum rating

May 2, 2012 •

The University of Colorado Boulder’s Center for Community has received a LEED platinum rating -- the highest possible designation -- from the United States Green Building Council.

LEED certification is a U.S. benchmark for sustainable building design and construction. The $84.4 million Center for Community, with 317,000 gross square feet, is about 30 percent more energy and water efficient than modern code-compliant buildings of the same size and function.

“The C4C building is a very inviting and functional place,” said Moe Tabrizi, campus sustainability director. “At the same time, it’s a very resource-efficient, green building. We’ve heard very positive feedback from people about it.”

The Center for Community, which opened in the fall of 2010, is CU-Boulder’s second platinum-rated building after the Williams Village North residence hall earned the same distinction last winter. Eight structures on the campus are LEED gold rated and another has a silver designation.

The building is anchored by a 900-seat dining hall that offers fare at nine micro-restaurants -- including Asian, Italian, halal and kosher-compliant dishes -- and serves more than 5,500 meals per day. The center also is home base for 12 student support offices, including Career Services, the Center for Multicultural Affairs, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Office of International Education and the Office of Victim Assistance.

More than 50 percent of construction materials for the Center for Community came from sources located no more than 500 miles away. And more than 75 percent of construction waste was recycled, diverting it from landfills.

Elements of the building that contribute to its efficiency include the use of LED lights, a large number of energy-saving kitchen appliances, solar reflective roof shingles and low-flow water fixtures and faucet aerators. The building is cooled with an evaporative cooling system, which uses less energy than traditional mechanical systems. Also, the installation of solar panels that produce 100 kilowatt-hours of energy at a time was recently completed. The panels are enough to power 20 average-sized houses.

“The building is exemplary of both the traditional Tuscan vernacular on the CU-Boulder campus, as well as state-of-the-art technology and design,” said Paul Leef, campus architect and director of the Planning, Design and Construction office. “One might say that it’s a perfect blend of functionality, timeless architectural design and 21st century engineering.

“Inside, the building has a sense of transparency, which not only gives greater visibility to the student services offered there, but also enlivens the interior with natural day lighting,” said Leef.

About 20 percent of the food prepared and served at the Center for Community comes from local sources and is natural or organic. Food waste is pulped for compost rather than tossed down a garbage disposal.

“The C4C building has become a great community gathering place where students, faculty, staff and Boulder community members meet to eat and build relationships,” said Kambiz Khalili, executive director of Housing and Dining Services.

The building’s green design and construction is the result of efforts from the CU-Boulder Planning, Design and Construction office and the office of Campus Sustainability, as well as Student Affairs and Housing and Dining Services.

The building has been nominated for the Boulder Valley Green Building Awards presented by the Colorado Green Building Guild and the Boulder County Business Report.

For more information on CU-Boulder’s green building initiatives visit http://www.colorado.edu/cusustainability/greeningcu/LEED.html. For more information on the Center for Community visit http://www.colorado.edu/centerforcommunity/

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