GVSU Wins the 2017 EXPI Award

Grand Valley State University Facilities Planning Department was the Sustainable Construction and Innovation Award Recipient at the 2017 West Michigan Design and Construction Expo.

The Sustainable Construction and Innovation Award recognizes construction and innovation that has proven economic, environmental and/or social benefits, contributing to sustainable building practices.  The innovation will be recognized as a robust project, product or service, to which the market is responding with enthusiasm.

This year’s inaugural award was presented to Grand Valley State University Facilities Planning Department for their on-going commitment to the high green building standard of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

What is LEED? Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an independent 3rd party verified rating system devised by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation towards sustainable design. The system is credit-based, allowing projects to earn points for environmentally friendly actions taken during construction and use of a building.

Why GVSU Facility Planning Department:

  • All told, in the state of Michigan, there are 130 LEED-certified projects classified as part of the “higher ed” owner sector. It total, these projects comprise approximately 12 million gross square feet of space.
  • Of those, 26 projects are owned by GVSU. And they have four more in the construction and certifying process for a total of just over 2 million square feet.
  • GVSU’s LEED-certified projects vary from Certified to Platinum. Their first building to achieve LEED certification was in 2004 in Muskegon which is now Grand Valley State University’s Muskegon Innovation Hub. And one of the more recent was a LEED Platinum which is the Mary Idema Pew Library Learning & Information Commons on the Allendale campus.
  • Two recent notable examples of LEED projects on campus:
    • GVSU’s P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science, which achieved LEED Gold in 2016. Kindschi Hall prioritized community connectivity, access to alternative transportation, use of regional materials, optimized energy performance and more. This classroom building is just one example of the University’s many accomplishments with LEED, but it exemplifies the holistic approach the University takes to sustainability — addressing every area of a building’s design, operation and maintenance.
    • Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons certified LEED Platinum in 2015: As the first LEED Platinum library in Michigan, the facility demonstrates the university’s commitment to sustainable progress through innovative design and construction.
      With more than 154,000 square feet of space, the new facility is more than double the size of the former James H. Zumberge Library and has triple the seating capacity. The library boasts multiple customizable spaces for both quiet studying and collaborative work, more than 700,000 books, one million e-books, an abundance of natural lighting, outdoor work spaces and a Knowledge Marketplace where students can find academic support services.

The LEED Platinum-certified building excels in sustainable design and management. During construction, a nearby storm sewer was redirected to a storm water management complex, not only protecting habitat during construction but also reducing the need for irrigation. The library anticipates increased green energy use and has built in capacity to adapt the building to support these changes. Invisible investments yield a 54 percent improvement over minimum requirements for annual energy use, including underfloor air distribution, radiant floors, wraparound heat pipes, and high-efficiency mechanicals. Refreshed air in study zones combats drowsiness, and surprising yet carefully constructed views provide natural inspiration.  A green roof mitigates runoff and supports insulation and low energy use.

“The university embarked on a journey to improve its energy signature more than 10 years ago,” said James Moyer, associate vice president for Facilities Planning. “We concentrated on making the building more energy efficient from both a basic construction perspective and an operations perspective. We had to reduce the energy signature of the buildings, then operate the buildings as designed.”

Striving always for a minimum standard of LEED Silver certification, the Facilities Planning staff work diligently to meet or exceed their goals with the team of experts they have pulled together over the years.  By pursuing LEED certification for all new construction and major renovations on campus, GVSU is doing more than actively reducing their impact on the environment. They are also improving their bottom line, contributing to the health and productivity of their students, faculty and staff, and showcasing the value they place on responsible, sustainable development.

In Use:  26 GVSU LEED projects that are certified in Allendale, Grand Rapids & Muskegon for a total of 1.7 million square feet, as well as 4 additional projects either under construction or in the certification process for just under another 300,000 square feet.  Here is a link to GVSU information page on their LEED projects http://www.gvsu.edu/cms4/asset/83D77566-0FCE-1482-0E85CB93ACE30B91/leedsqft102617.pdf