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Emerson recognized for green practices

emerson colleges colonial building interior is up a level is closer to becoming green

A common area in the interior of the Colonial building.

Emerson’s Colonial building has achieved LEED Gold certification, according to Neal Lespasio, Emerson’s director of facilities management.

The LEED rating system is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED offers four certification levels for new construction and major renovation projects—Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum—that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Piano Row, one of the first College buildings to become recognized by LEED, has a Certified rating.

The LEED Gold Certification recognizes the environmentally conscious practices that were used during the construction phase of the Colonial building and that continue to be used to sustain it. For example, material used to renovate the building came from within 150 miles of Emerson, which cut down on travel and emissions. Many of the materials used for the interior space are from recycled products. Some of the ongoing environmentally friendly practices in the building include a rainwater recovery system that uses water collected on the roof to flush toilets and also takes runoff water out of the city system, a recycling room on every floor, a steam heating system, and green products and processes used to clean the building.

“This certification means that we’re concerned about the environment and that we’ve taken steps to practice strong sustainable and environmental processes,” said Lespasio. “On the sustainability committee, we talk about how we can be more environmentally conscious all the time. It’s one thing to sit down in a room and talk about what we can do and it’s another thing to follow through and do what we talked about. We committed to creating a LEED-certified building and that’s what we did.”

In other green news, Emerson College has been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as the 2010–2011 Individual Conference Champion for using more green power than any other school in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference.

Since April 2006, EPA’s Green Power Partnership has tracked and recognized the collegiate athletic conferences with the highest combined green power purchases in the nation. The Individual Conference Champion Award recognizes the school that has made the largest individual purchase of green power within a qualifying conference.

Emerson College beat its conference rivals by purchasing 12 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) of green power, representing almost 100 percent of the school’s annual electricity usage. Emerson College purchases renewable energy certificates from Community Energy, which helps to reduce the environmental impact associated with the campus’s electricity use.

According to the U.S. EPA, Emerson College’s green power use of 12 million kWh is equivalent to avoiding the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the electricity use of more than 1,000 average American homes annually, or the CO2 emissions of nearly 2,000 passenger vehicles per year.

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