LEED Platinum and New England’s First SITES Certification Demonstrate Continued Leadership in Sustainability Projects

Colby’s commitment to sustainable practices was brought into sharp focus recently with a LEED platinum certification for Grossman Hall and a SITES certification for its outdoor competition center. These recognitions demonstrate the College’s position as a leader in sustainability efforts and come as Colby begins its second year using energy produced from its nine-acre solar array.

“These are important milestones that reflect our longstanding commitment to environmentally responsible development and operations,” said Mina Amundsen, assistant vice president for facilities and campus planning. “We are definitely raising the bar for both our building and campus landscape standards with the broader vision of a campus that actively supports academic programs and research in sustainability.”

The LEED platinum designation of the recently renovated Grossman Hall marks the College’s first platinum certification and its 16th LEED certification. Platinum is the highest level of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, acknowledging the building’s exceptional environmentally conscious design and construction. The College now has the most LEED-certified buildings in the entire New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC).

Grossman Hall, home of DavisConnects (Photo Trent Bell Photography)

Grossman Hall, a nearly 16,000-square-foot building opened in September 2017, features a 48-percent reduction in energy use due to a high-performance building envelope and an efficient HVAC system with energy recovery. Low-flow fixtures contribute to a 45.5-percent reduction in potable water use in the building.

Originally built in 1951, the building’s existing 8,600 square feet were included in the renovation, reducing material usage, which contributed to the LEED platinum designation. More than 90 percent of regularly occupied spaces have natural daylight and views to the outdoors, where native-plant landscaping around the building thrives without irrigation.

Situated in the heart of campus, Grossman Hall houses DavisConnects, Colby’s innovative new program that prepares students for future success through guaranteed research, internship, and global experiences by removing financial barriers to these life-changing experiences.

Across campus, the College’s lacrosse, soccer, and practice fields in the outdoor competition center have received certification through the Sustainable SITES Initiative, a program that promotes sustainable landscape projects that enhance ecosystem services, conserve water, reduce energy waste, and promote outdoor physical activity.

Spectators watch a field hockey game on the Bill Alfond Field, one of the three fields in the SITES certification project.

“The SITES standard for sustainable landscapes was just adopted by Colby,” Amundsen said. “We are really proud that this project is also the first one certified in New England.”

The competition center received SITES certification for including sustainability features such as a design for storm water to filter through basins beneath the fields to slow and clean runoff. Additionally, an irrigation system conserves water by automatically adjusting to precipitation and evaporation rates with the use of rain and soil sensors.

Another important component of Colby’s efforts to reduce its carbon footprint is the 5,300-panel solar array that has been providing energy to the campus for just over a year. Since coming online in September 2017, the 1.9-megawatt photovoltaic energy project has produced 2.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity, or 15 percent, of Colby’s electricity use.

The College is consistently recognized for its leadership in sustainability and environmental education. Colby has been carbon neutral since 2013 and was only the fourth college or university in the country to achieve this milestone. Academic programs in environmental studies, student-led initiatives, and the Buck Lab for the Environment and Climate Change also advance the College’s strategies toward creating a climate-friendly campus.

For more about Colby’s environmental leadership, visit colby.edu/green.