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Laurentide Hall wins LEED certification for sustainability features PDF Print E-mail
In the News

August 15, 2013 -

university-leed-buildingA gleaming building at UW-Whitewater whose name reflects the region's ancient geology has won recognition for its modern sustainability features.

Laurentide Hall, named for the ice sheet that once towered over the area, has received LEED certification for its energy-saving systems, indoor air quality and waste reduction and recycling.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, the rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council that certifies achievements in the design, construction and operation of buildings.

Environmental recognition for Laurentide is especially gratifying because UW-Whitewater has a new environmental science major and hopes to use the building as a showcase for students, said David Travis, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences.

As associate dean, he oversaw the $18 million project that transformed Carlson Hall, built in 1972, into a new home for about 175 faculty and staff members of the college. It also includes study spaces for students and room for student organizations.

"We really had to make a complete transformation of the building in both the way it looked and the way it treated the environment,'' Travis said.

Laurentide's energy performance has been estimated to be 24 percent lower than the baseline of the national code for energy efficient design. About 83 percent of the project's construction waste was diverted from landfills through a waste reduction and recycling program, and renovation crews salvaged 86 percent of the existing structural frame and shell.

The building boasts a new water system and an advanced cooling design called a chilled beam system that is economical and reduces fossil fuel emissions, Travis said.

"It's much, much less energy-intensive,'' he said. "It's one of the biggest environmental impacts we're having.''

Even small changes, such as air dryers instead of paper towels in restrooms, contribute to the building's sustainability and make it a clean, environmentally friendly workplace, he said.

Leonardo Academy, a nonprofit sustainability organization based in Fitchburg, worked on the Laurentide project with UW-Whitewater, architect Strang Inc. and general contractor J. P. Cullen & Sons.

Laurentide's LEED achievement reflects a steadfast campus commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.  UW-Whitewater's newest student residence, Starin Hall, won LEED gold certification in 2011, and solar panels continue to produce electricity atop Timothy J. Hyland Hall, home of the College of Business and Economics.

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Leonardo Academy Supports LEED-EB Platinum Certification of Service Employees International Union HQ PDF Print E-mail
In the News

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EPA Grant Reduces Dangerous Emissions from Diesel Engines PDF Print E-mail
In the News

diesel-engine-farm-equipmentA grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Farmland Management Services (FMS) has helped reduce diesel emissions across six of the company's Wisconsin cranberry farms.

The grant, awarded under the EPA's National Clean Diesel Funding Assistance Program, has curbed the amount of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides emitted by diesel engines on farms which can cause adverse health effects. There are currently between 9,000 and 11,000 stationary diesel agricultural engines operating throughout central Wisconsin. Older diesel engines are more likely to emit particulate matter and nitrogen oxides.

Particle pollution created by diesel engines contains microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are small enough to infiltrate the lungs and bloodstream. Smaller particles tend to cause more serious health problems. Particles 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller, which are regulated by the EPA, pose the greatest health risks.

Nitrogen oxides are covered under the EPA's National Ambient Air Quality Standards, which were first set in 1971 under the Nixon administration. Even very short-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a highly reactive nitrogen oxide that forms quickly from engine emissions, has been shown to cause adverse respiratory effects including airway inflammation in healthy people and increased respiratory symptoms in people with asthma.

The FMS emission reduction projects were just part of a range of projects that benefitted from the $900,000 EPA grant. Each project reduced dangerous emissions from diesel engines through idle reduction technologies or engine repowers on ferries, long haul trucks, school buses, and stationary irrigation pumps.

Leonardo Academy, a nonprofit organization that provides consulting and solutions across a wide range of sustainability-related issues, prepared and submitted the grant application to the EPA on behalf of FMS and several other organizations. Upon receipt of the EPA funds, Leonardo Academy acted as the administrator and fiscal agent for the grant funds.

"Leonardo Academy is dedicated to developing sustainability strategies for people, companies and organizations that engage progress in environmental and social equity achievements in driving economic success," said Leonardo Academy President, Michael Arny." Part of Leonardo Academy's goal in advocating the EPA's National Clean Diesel Campaign is to improve air quality by reducing emissions from all types of diesel-fueled engines throughout Wisconsin. "

FMS manages about 48,800 acres of tree and vine crops in Wisconsin, Washington and California, and has taken an aggressive approach to reducing diesel emissions across its operations.

"We are privileged to receive this award from the EPA," said Steve Hahn, Area Manager for FMS. "FMS is committed to improving the communities and environments in which we operate. This project is one example of the many steps we take to reduce emissions and achieve better fuel efficiency from diesel engines in our operations throughout the country."

FMS has also made efforts to eliminate the burning of orchard residues, estimated at between 40,000 and 100,000 tons per year.  Nearly all tree limbs from pruning or tree removal are now pulverized in the field and returned to the soil or used as a dust suppressant on farm roads.

Image credit: Les Chatfield

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