Hamilton was recently recognized for its efforts to go green, receiving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification from the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for the energy-efficient and sustainably constructed Sadove Student Center. Sadove is the third building on campus to receive LEED certification and the second to be awarded LEED Gold—Skenandoa House received LEED Silver certification in 2006, and the 40-year-old Kirner-Johnson Building received LEED Gold in 2009, following a major renovation.
LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. According to GBCI’s website, “LEED certification is the internationally recognized distinction that a building or neighborhood development is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place to live and work.”
LEED certification of building projects is difficult to achieve, since the projects must meet or exceed myriad requirements. LEED recognized five environmental categories, including: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. There are four certification levels: certified, silver, gold and platinum. As Hamilton strives to reduce its carbon footprint, it designs and constructs all new buildings to meet LEED standards, whether or not the college decides to seek actual certification, a process which can be strenuous, expensive and time-consuming.
According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings in the United States are responsible for 39 percent of CO2 emissions, 40 percent of energy consumption, 13 percent water consumption and 15 percent of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.
Construction on Sadove was completed in August 2010. The building houses the book store, student activities office, student radio station, Euphoria Smoothies, and several conference rooms and student study spaces.