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Two Colby College residence halls built in the early 1950s and renovated in 2008 received LEED Gold Certification from the United States Green Building Council, the College announced August 18. Colby now has more LEED-certified buildings than any private college in Maine and is the first private college in Maine to achieve the gold level. Pierce and Perkins-Wilson, which were once fraternity houses, are now more energy efficient and include local, recycled and sustainably harvested materials. 

The two buildings, which were expanded as well as renovated, are the fourth and fifth projects at Colby to receive LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification—but the first to reach the gold level. Major energy improvements came from replacing windows, expanding the number of heating zones, adding motion sensors and timers for reduced electrical use and installing more efficient lighting and equipment. Energy recovery systems allow for the capture of heat energy from warm air exhaust, which is then used to partially reheat the incoming fresh air ventilation.

Pierce and Perkins-Wilson, originally both 8,160 square feet, each received a highly efficient 1,800-square-foot addition. Building features include new study/lounge space, an elevator for better accessibility, recycling centers and interior bike rooms.

Other factors that contribute to the LEED gold certification include:

•    Elevator uses vegetable oil rather than petroleum-based hydraulic oil;
•    Low-flow faucets and showers, and dual-flush toilets, conserve water use;
•    Spray-foam insulation increases efficiency of additions;
•   Construction waste reduced through reusing or recycling approximately 77   percent of waste from each building;
•    Interior finishes (paints, adhesives, sealants, carpets) emit fewer vapors;
•    Renewable (green E-certified wind) power offsets 100 percent of each building’s annual electricity use for a minimum of two years (Colby purchases 100 percent renewable power for its entire campus);
•    Native or drought-tolerant landscape materials reduce the need for irrigation.

Colby has a longstanding commitment to environmentally friendly building practices. The project manager for the Pierce and Perkins Wilson projects, along with Colby’s entire Physical Plant project management team, are professionally accredited by the Green Building Council’s LEED program, signifying Colby’s ongoing commitment to incorporating environmental principles in all construction projects.

Other LEED-certified buildings at Colby are the Schair-Swenson-Watson Alumni Center, which was certified at the Silver level and opened in 2005 as one of the first academic buildings in Maine certified by the program, the Diamond Building which opened in 2007, and the Cotter Union/Bookstore project, which opened last year and attained LEED Silver.