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Collaborative Innovation Center Earns Gold for Being "Green"

Rebecca Flora of the U.S. Green Building Council presents Bill Burroughs of the Regional Industrial Development Corporation of Southwestern Pennsylvania with the Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Award for the Collaborative Innovation Center. Also present for the ceremony were (l-r): Kevin Gannon and Jeffrey Davis of dggp Architecture; Carnegie Mellon Associate Vice Provost for Campus Design and Facility Development Ralph Horgan; dggp's Carmen Gong; John King of the J.J. Gumberg Co.; and Brett Pitcairn of PJ Dick Construction Co.

The Collaborative Innovation Center is the latest campus structure to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainability and efficiency.
Although the exterior of the Collaborative Innovation Center (CIC) on Carnegie Mellon University's campus is covered by windows and beige terra cotta tiles, you could call it both green and gold.

The CIC recently received a Gold Core and Shell Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certificate from the U.S. Green Building Council for its high level of sustainability and efficiency.

Designed by dggp Architecture using "green" design principles, the 136,000 square-foot structure was built on campus, just west of Hamburg Hall, to promote collaboration between university researchers, faculty and students, and technology industries. It was designed with large, flexible open spaces inside to allow tenants to adjust their workspace according to their needs.

Some of the building's green features include an energy-efficient, modular raised-floor system that allows twice as much fresh air to enter the building, and removable floor panels that allow air diffusers, power, communications and other utility lines to be easily reconfigured to meet workspace needs. The adjustable air diffusers can be moved and rearranged to modify airflow, allowing individuals to customize the climate in their work areas.

Kevin Gannon of dggp Architecture said that tenants could modify their workspace by utilizing the building's "plug and play" features. For example, electrical outlets can easily be moved from one office location to another to foster teamwork, increased productivity and efficiency.

Concrete slabs and solar shades help reduce the amount of cooling needed in the spring and summer.
"This is a unique highlight of the Carnegie Mellon campus," said Gannon, an adjunct professor in Carnegie Mellon's School of Architecture "We were charged with maximizing the rentable space. It's more of a special office building than an academic building," he said.

The CIC also has large exterior windows to maximize daylight, an interior indirect lighting system to reduce glare and a storm water collection system to help control storm water runoff and recycle water for use within the building's restroom facilities. Large concrete slabs and solar shades are located above the windows on the south and west ends of the building to reduce the amount of cooling needed in the spring and summer months. The terra cotta tiles surrounding the exterior of the building act as a rain screen for the skin of the structure, which consists of three inches of insulation, a waterproof membrane, steel studs and dry walls behind the tiles that require no mortar.

In addition, the underground garage for 238 vehicles is equipped with a recharging station for electric vehicles. The CIC also has bicycle racks for those wishing to bike to work, as well as locker room and shower facilities for bikers to change and shower before heading to the office.

"The Collaborative Innovation Center sets a new standard for building developers with its focus on the shell and core components of the structure," said Rebecca Flora, a board member of the U.S. Green Building Council and executive director of Pittsburgh's Green Building Alliance.

Removable floor panels allow air diffusers and power lines to be easily reconfigured to meet workspace needs.

"Carnegie Mellon has been a leader in green design. It's a natural fit for a university that is so world renowned for innovation and technology," said Flora, who presented the gold plaque during a mid-June ceremony at the CIC.

The CIC is the latest building to achieve LEED certification at Carnegie Mellon, which is committed to the study of environmental sciences and the deployment of sustainable practices to bring about a healthier and energy-conscious environment. Other campus facilities that have earned high rankings from the U.S. Green Building Council for their green design are the New House and Henderson House residence halls, the Posner Center and 300 South Craig Street. Future green initiatives include the new Gates Center for Computer Science and Phase II of the Doherty Hall renovation project.

dggp Architecture, based in Pittsburgh, has several ties to Carnegie Mellon. Gary Gardner, the project's lead architect, is an alumnus of Carnegie Mellon and dggp principal Jeffrey Davis is an adjunct professor in the university's School of Architecture as well.

The CIC project, completed in early 2005, was a collaborative effort between Carnegie Mellon, the Regional Industrial Development Corporation (RIDC) of Southwestern Pennsylvania and the J.J. Gumberg Co., which is the building's leasing and management agent. Today, tenants include Intel Research Pittsburgh, Apple Computer, Carnegie Mellon CyLab and the CERT Coordination Center, part of the Software Engineering Institute. Additional tenants are expected to move into the building in the coming months.

Bruce Gerson
June 29, 2006

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