Published: Sept. 8, 2011 By

The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building may receive high marks from the U.S. Green Building Council.

A drive westbound on Colorado Avenue puts the new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building front and center on CU-Boulder’s East Campus. When complete, the building may be the “greenest” academic research lab in the country.

The building, nearing completion, is still tracking steadily for a high LEED Gold rating. In fact, when the building is officially certified in March 2013, it may receive a LEED Platinum certification, the highest given by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. The rating system was created to promote design and construction practices that reduce the negative environmental impact of buildings and improve occupant health and well-being.

The ratings correspond to the number of credits earned in five green design categories:

  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality

Research buildings rarely receive a LEED Platinum rating because of the high energy consumption of lab equipment and the water usage required in lab spaces. If the Biotechnology Building achieves a LEED Platinum rating, it will be the largest research lab on campus, and possibly in the nation, to receive the highest rating.

Currently, CU-Boulder is the first university in the country to achieve LEED Gold status. In addition to the Biotechnology Building, the new Williams Village North and the Basketball/Volleyball complex are tracking for Platinum ratings.