November 4, 2010

Plantations Welcome Center Earns High LEED Rating

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After roughly fifteen months of construction, the “ultra-green” Brian C. Nevin Cornell Plantations Welcome Center was dedicated last weekend. The building, which was designed to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold certification, has a chance to achieve the platinum rating and become the first Cornell building to do so.LEED is a group that rates a building’s sustainability on five categories including “energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts,” according to their website.Green features of the building include solar panels that will provide 80 percent of the building’s space heating, as well as computer-operated windows and skylights that eliminate the need for air-conditioning in most of the building, according to the lead architect Jon Neuert.Thanks to the energy-smart temperature control of the building, Neuert said he believes that the building will most likely be awarded all possible LEED points within the “Optimize Energy Perfor­mance” category. These points could perhaps be the defining factor in earning the building a platinum certification, he said.“The building is expected to consume about 49 percent less energy than is permitted for a building of this size, with greenhouse gas emission reductions of 13 tons per year,” Don Rakow, director of Cornell Plantations, said.The entire $5.8 million necessary to fund the project was derived from donations to Cornell Plantations. C. Sherwood South­wick, the primary donor to the project, proposed that the building be named after his business partner and Cornell alumnus, Brian Nevin ’50.

Original Author: Kayla DeLeon