Reflecting a campus commitment to sustainability, two of K-State's latest building projects are seeking international recognition that they were built with environmental impact in mind.
K-State is seeking LEED certification for the new School of Leadership Studies building and Building 5 at Jardine Apartments. LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council that takes into account how a project is designed, constructed and ultimately operated to mitigate its impact on the environment and those who occupy the building.
"Like accreditation, LEED recognizes that we've taken the necessary steps to have a project that is environmentally sound," said Mark Taussig, associate director of facilities planning at K-State.
Items considered in an application for LEED certification are many and include basics like efficient lighting and heating and cooling systems, to things like recycling on the construction site and working to incorporate reused materials into the new building.
"One of the design goals of the leadership studies space was to enact, not just represent, the mission of leadership studies to lead change for the greater good," said Mary Hale Tolar, director of the School of Leadership Studies. "We wanted to take this opportunity to lead the campus in conceiving of different ways of using buildings and developing projects."
The leadership studies building is 36,000 square feet and has a lecture hall, six classrooms, an academic advising center, resource library and study center, and office space for faculty and staff. The $11 million dollar project was privately funded.
Tolar said the building features design elements that mitigate solar reflectivity and heat gain, and minimize water and energy use. One example of this would be the large windows and open spaces on the building's interior, which allow natural light into the center of the building, reducing the need for as much interior lighting.
"But we also wanted to be sure the building didn't look like it was all steel and glass and solar panels," she said. "It fits in with the rest of the campus, while fitting our function and our mission. We wanted to demonstrate what is possible."
The building will promote a recycling culture among its occupants with centrally located recycling stations and no trash cans in the classrooms, Tolar said. The impact of the space on those using the building also is considered in the LEED process.
The Building 5 project at the Jardine Apartments is approximately 5,400 square feet. It will be home to a restaurant, sports bar, convenience store and coffee shop, in addition to apartments on the upper levels.
Taussig said that recycled materials are being used on the building's interior, including bricks from the original barracks-style buildings that were demolished to make way for the Jardine project. The wood flooring came from the former Menninger Clinic in Topeka and roof trusses from a North Carolina factory that were cut into floor covering.
In addition to energy efficient lighting and heating and air conditioning systems, the building will feature landscaping that requires minimal irrigation and have a designated nearby parking spot specifically for carpools.
Both new buildings also are using materials like special paints that don't have hazardous byproducts that would affect the health of occupants.
"What sustainability is really about is realizing that everything we do has an environmental, social and economic impact," said Ben Champion, K-State's director of sustainability. "Though the LEED process is considered by some to be onerous, it provides accountability."
Both projects are on track to receive LEED certification, a process that can take six to 12 months after the buildings are occupied. A majority of the faculty and staff in the School of Leadership Studies have moved into the new building, while Jardine's Building 5 is set for completion in May.
Photos: Students walk in the newer part of the Jardine Apartment development; An overall shot of the new building for the School of Leadership Studies.