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Ohio State strives to become a benchmark for green building

The Ohio State University is leading the way in sustainability in higher education by creating a Green Build Policy that will set the bar for green design and construction. The principles and practices governing campus construction now includes conserving resources and incorporating green design principles, while balancing initial and long-term operating costs.

"This is a giant step forward for Ohio State," said Gilbert Cloyd, chairman of The Ohio State University Board of Trustees. "The university has an opportunity to make a significant long-term impact on sustainability."

In the future, all applicable projects over $4 million will have U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver certification, at a minimum. Additionally, all projects must establish goals to exceed State of Ohio energy reduction requirements (reduce building consumption by at least 20 percent by 2014, based on 2004 rates as a baseline).

"This new policy underscores Ohio State's deep commitment to be good stewards of our natural resources," said President E. Gordon Gee. "We must ensure that our build environment reflects our core intellectual values of sustainability, conservation, and fiscal responsibility."

"Ohio State is dedicated to creating a campus that is timeless, maintainable and flexible; and minimizes environmental impacts," said Melissa Bellini, associate vice president of Facilities Operations and Development. "We do not want to follow the benchmarks; we want to become the benchmark for environmentally responsible design and operations."

Recently, the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center was the first campus building to receive LEED certification. "The 4-H Center is a perfect example of how these standards will work. We have been able to reduce water usage by 30 percent, capitalize on natural lighting, and use recycled materials in construction. Constructing more green buildings on campus will be good for the university and good for Ohio," said Bobby Moser, vice president, Agricultural Administration and executive dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

Large-scale campus projects, including the Student Academic Services Building and Lane Avenue Parking Garage, Ohio Union, Thompson Library renovation and the Medical Center expansion, are all seeking LEED certification.

"While certification may be difficult for Medical Center facilities because of medical space requirements, we are committed to achieving all that we can as we move forward with key university initiatives in the medical arena," said Dr. Steve Gabbe, senior vice president, Health Sciences.

The Green Build Policy also focuses on energy efficiency and use and greenhouse gas emissions; it extends beyond buildings to review alternative, renewable energy sources to increase the efficiency of generating and delivering energy to buildings and reducing consumption. Other areas that the policy addresses include waste management, recycling and composting; low-flow water systems and irrigation reduction; education of students, faculty and staff to reduce usage; mass and alternative forms of transportation; and purchasing amendments including recycled paper and Energy Star products.

"We need to reduce construction costs while building structures that are more efficient," said Cloyd.

The policy has widespread support from students, faculty and staff at Ohio State.

Information about U.S. LEED certification requirements can be found at www.usgbc.orgThe full policy is online at: www.busfin.osu.edu/FileStore/310_InterimGreenBuildandEnergy.pdf