LEED tag for student center, not athletic center

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Video by Michael Ewen

Editor’s Note: Throughout the week, TommieMedia will be addressing green issues on campus and giving insight into the question of “How sustainable is St. Thomas?” Make sure to check out the sustainability page for daily updates.

Right down the road from St. Thomas, Macalaster College reached a milestone in sustainability.

In 2009, Macalaster opened the doors of Markim Hall, its new LEED platinum certified building.

Caption (Michael Ewen/TommieMedia)
Macalester College's Markim Hall is LEED platinum certified. (Michael Ewen/TommieMedia)

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying practical and measurable green building design, construction and maintenance solutions. LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. Platinum is the highest award.

Suzanne Savanick Hansen, Macalester College sustainability manager, said the construction of Markim Hall went above and beyond that of a standard building.

“It was designed to be 45 percent more efficient with water and its performing better than that right now,” Savanick said. “We actually track our electricity, our water and our green house gas emissions in our building and it’s all right there on the touch screen in the front lobby.”

While Macalester received LEED certification for its new building, St. Thomas assistant construction manager Jim Brummer said the new Anderson Athletic facility is taking a different approach.

Thumbnail“Originally, we looked at doing a LEED certification on the athletic center but decided against it because of the documentation costs,” Brummer said. “It would have cut into the budgets.”

The athletic facility is not being built from the LEED design stand point. But St. Thomas is working with Xcel Energy energy to reduce the amount of emissions produced during the building’s lifetime.

“So this particular building, we’re reducing around 1,500 cubic metric tons of CO2 emissions per year,” Brummer said.

Zach Pagano can be reached at paga7147@stthomas.edu