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Contact Jo Procter, college news director; phone: (413) 597-4279; e-mail Jo.Procter@williams.edu

New Academic Buildings Attain LEED Gold Certification

Schapiro HallThe U.S. Green Building Council has awarded Williams College's two new academic buildings LEED Gold status. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is the USGBC's rating system for the design and construction of energy-efficient and high-performing buildings.

The Williams buildings cited, Schapiro Hall (at right) and the North Academic Building, opened a year ago. They are the first in Berkshire County to attain Gold, the second-highest of LEED's four levels of certification.

Certification of the project was based on green design and construction features that include the following:

  • Suspended solids and other contaminants are removed from storm water prior to release into the local storm water system
  • Green roofs reduce storm water run-off and insulate well
  • Water-efficient landscaping incorporates native plants and requires no irrigation once established
  • Energy consumption expected to be about 20% more efficient than a typical building through use of high performance glazing and insulation, automatic lighting controls, and occupancy sensors that set back temperatures and ventilation rates
  • More than 90% of spaces have access to outdoor views and daylight
  • 23% (by value) of materials were obtained locally and 20% made of recycled materials
  • Close to 75% of construction-related waste was recycled
  • Low-flow fixtures and waterless urinals reduce water use to 40% below standard
  • All sealants, paints, carpeting, and wood products emit only low amounts of volatile organic compounds.

"This building project represents a milestone in the development of the Williams campus," said Interim President William Wagner, "and visibly demonstrates the college's commitment to sustainable building practices and energy efficiency."

Williams will also seek LEED recognition for two projects put on hold because of the change in the economy: construction of a new Sawyer Library and renovation of the Weston Athletic Field.

"For the college to achieve Gold in its first attempt at LEED certification testifies to the hard, cooperative work of many on campus along with our planners, architects, and construction firms," Vice President for Operations Steve Klass said. "Our thanks go to them all. This also gives us confidence in our ability to design and build the kinds of sustainable structures that our campus, our community, and our world require."

Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design. LEED can be applied to all building types, including new construction, commercial interiors, core and shell developments, existing buildings, homes, neighborhood developments, schools and retail facilities.

"Williams College's LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. "The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Williams serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish."

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Founded in 1793, Williams College is the second oldest institution of higher learning in Massachusetts. The college's 2,000 students are taught by a faculty noted for the quality of their teaching and research, and the achievement of academic goals includes active participation of students with faculty in their research. Students' educational experience is enriched by the residential campus environment in Williamstown, Mass., which provides a host of opportunities for interaction with one another and with faculty beyond the classroom. Admission decisions are made regardless of a student's financial ability, and the college provides grants and other assistance to meet the demonstrated needs of all who are admitted.

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