Davis Center gets gold

As a school with the reputation for being green, the environmentally friendly University of Vermont has another color to add to its name: gold.The school’s new student center, the Dudley H. Davis Center, was awarded the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold designation by the U.S. Green Building Council last month, the University announced in a press release.According to the press release, UVM is the first university in the nation to have a student union recognized with this accolade.”In pursuing our goal of being a premier environmental university, we wanted to set the highest environmental standard for this signature UVM building,” University President Daniel Fogel said. “We more than met our goal.”The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certifications rate buildings in six categories of sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design process, according to the Building Council’s web site. How a project scores in each of those categories can lead to a total of 69 possible points where buildings can qualify for four different ascending classifications – certified, silver, gold and platinum – according to the web site.The Davis Center’s energy efficient design anticipates the use of 52 percent less energy than other equally sized constructions because of a variety of insulating systems, such as the occupancy sensors, designed to regulate electricity used to provide air conditioning, heating and ventilation, according to the press release.A row of windows at the top and louvers – slatted frames designed to admit light and air – on the second floor in the atrium earned the Davis Center credit for the innovation and design category, acting as a natural chimney to draw out smoke, according to University releases. The Davis Center was also awarded points for promoting alternative transportation, recycling of more than 92 percent of construction waste by weight, the use of products with recycled content and a green roof that reduces storm water runoff, the press release stated.”This is a really good step for UVM as we move forward,” sophomore eco-rep Alice Porco said. “It shows that we are actually doing something and will hopefully promote more eco-friendly practices in the future.”University policy states that all new and major renovation building construction projects should achieve the equivalent of the LEED Silver level. “The University has done a lot, but there’s so much more we could do,” Porco said. “Trinity Campus could be greened-up to fix the heating and lighting issues.”In addition to the Davis Center, UVM currently has one LEED Gold certified and three Silver certified buildings with one under review – the University Heights complex, the Carrigan Wing addition to Marsh Life Sciences, the Wing/Davis/Wilks complex and the 438 College Street historic preservation, respectively.”We have the green reputation,” Porco said. “Now we just have to fully realize its potential.”