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Colby’s Diamond Building has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The 53,000-square-foot academic building for social sciences and interdisciplinary studies opened in February of 2007.

The LEED green building rating system is the national benchmark for sustainable construction. Many factors make Diamond a “green” building. Among them:

 – use of local materials, including bricks manufactured in Auburn, Maine;
 – use of materials with recycled content, including carpeting and wallboard;
 – use of 100-percent renewable energy;
 – about 84 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills;
 – occupancy sensors in classrooms avoid electricity waste;
 – touch-screen display in the lobby allows visitors to learn about “green” features.

Colby has a longstanding commitment to environmentally friendly building practices. “This is giving us a chance to get some credit for the good things we were doing 10 years ago,” said Dale DeBlois, Diamond’s project manager and Colby’s environmental program manager. Many “green” elements represent common-sense building practices while others push the commitment to sustainability to ever higher levels, DeBlois said.

DeBlois, along with the entire physical plant project management team at Colby, is professionally accredited by the Green Building Council’s LEED program. Certification as a LEED-accredited professional requires field experience and passing a national examination, and having the whole team certified signals Colby’s ongoing commitment to environmental initiatives in certified buildings as well as smaller renovation projects.

Colby remains committed to sustainable building practices. The Pulver Pavilion, which opened in the fall of 2007, along with the new bookstore, both in Cotter Union, will be submitted for LEED certification when the latter is completed this summer.

Colby’s first LEED-certified building, the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, which opened in 2005, was one of the first academic buildings in Maine certified by the program.