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May 31: Carnegie Mellon Properties Cited for Efficiency, Sustainability, Green Design


Teresa Thomas

Carnegie Mellon Properties on South Craig Street
Cited for Efficiency, Sustainability, Green Design

300 and 407 S. Craig Street Receive Silver LEED Certification

PITTSBURGH–Carnegie Mellon University buildings at 300 and 407 S. Craig Street have received Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for their energy efficiency, sustainability and use of green design principles during recent renovation projects.     

Both structures include environmentally friendly features such as paint, sealants and adhesives that produce limited emissions of volatile organic compounds; certified, sustainable wood for interior doors; carpeting made from recycled materials; air conditioning systems that do not use reheat coils; carbon dioxide monitors to regulate fresh air; chlorofluorocarbon-free refrigerants for the air conditioning and water cooler systems; and bicycle racks for employees who wish to bike to work.     

New building materials for both projects were purchased from companies within a 500-mile radius of Pittsburgh, and materials demolished in the renovation projects were sorted and recycled when possible. Once completed, 407 S. Craig was left vacant for two weeks with the air conditioning running to flush out odors and gases. The indoor air quality was monitored in 300 S. Craig before it was occupied.

solar panels 

The two-story, 11,000-square-foot structure at 407 S. Craig also includes a skylight on the second floor for natural lighting and a 25-kilowatt solar cell array on its roof that helps power the facility. The building houses office space for faculty, staff and students in Carnegie Mellon's School of Computer Science.     

"The LEED program provides Carnegie Mellon with an opportunity to lead the way for the Pittsburgh region in 'green' building design and construction," said Jim Skees, building facilities manager for the School of Computer Science. "While LEED helps us meet our society's environmental goals, it also encourages us to build buildings that occupants find more comfortable and healthier to work in."    

Renovations to 407 S. Craig began in 2004 and were completed one year later at a cost of about $2 million. The project was designed by the architectural firm Studio Yi with Evolve, an architecture firm that specializes in green design, serving as LEED consultant. The engineer of record was Valco, the commissioning agent was Mier Energy and the contractor was MBM Construction.    

The four-story, 80,000-square-foot building at 300 S. Craig, the former Vision Services Center that Carnegie Mellon purchased in 2005, houses the University Police Department, office space and labs for the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center and the School of Computer Science, and the Center for Behavioral Decision Research. A Quizno's sandwich shop and Maggie's Mercantile, which is set to open soon, occupy leased space on the first floor.

The 300 S. Craig renovation project began in 2005 and was completed in 2006 at a total cost of about $9 million. Edge Studio of Pittsburgh designed the renovation and Evolve was the project's LEED consultant. The engineer and commissioning agent was HF Lenz and the contractor was Rycon Construction.    

"While I would not recommend the aggressive time schedule we undertook, we proved that the application of LEED principles does not have to add time to the project," said Linda McFadden, project manager for Carnegie Mellon's Campus Design and Facility Development. "In this situation it is imperative to have a contractor and consultants who have experience in this area. It really is a team effort."    

The buildings on South Craig join four other university structures that have received LEED certification. The New House and Henderson House residence halls were awarded silver designation in 2003 and 2004, respectively. The Posner Center was certified in 2005 and the Collaborative Innovation Center received a Core & Shell Gold citation in 2006.     

Other Carnegie Mellon projects that have applied for LEED certification include The Intelligent Workplace atop Margaret Morrison Carnegie Hall, the Carnegie Mellon Café and the permanent installation of the 2005 Solar House near Donner Hall. Ongoing construction projects for chemical engineering labs at Doherty Hall and the new School of Computer Science Complex are also seeking LEED certification.


(Above, workers install solar energy panels on the roof of 407 S. Craig Street.)