State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Faculty House Awarded LEED Gold Certification

Photo via WikiCU
Photo via WikiCU

The newly renovated Faculty House at Columbia University has been awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council. This is a significant and state-of –the-art environmental milestone for Faculty House and Columbia University, making it the first LEED Gold Certified building on Morningside campus.

Faculty House was built in 1923 and designed by Columbia campus architects McKim, Mead, and White.  It serves as a 38,000-square-foot facility that hosts a wide variety of functions, including receptions, social events, meetings, conferences, and seminars. It is the only building of its kind in New York City and the first McKim, Mead & White building in the country to be given a LEED certification.

The United States Green Building Council describes the LEED system as “the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.”  Some of the features of the Faculty House restoration included integrated energy-efficient and water-conserving utilities, appliances, fixtures and insulation; installation of new HVAC system, providing clean air quality; recycled, low-emission furnishings, materials and finishes as well as locally made materials; restored original details, repurposed old materials, donated used equipment and recycled construction waste. Faculty House was awarded a notable 44 out of 44 total points attempted.

Yetsuh Frank, the Director, Programs & Policy at Urban Green Council, U.S. Green Building Council of New York explains “To the best of our knowledge, Faculty House is the only building of its kind in New York City to have been awarded LEED Gold Certification. What’s more exciting for us at Urban Green Council about the Faculty House project is that it shows that historic preservation and sustainability can be compatible. Renovating existing buildings plays an essential role in achieving PlaNYC goals. Improving new construction standards can only help us so much and this project proves that even a landmark building can make significant environmental improvements.”

In celebration of its LEED Gold Certification and in recognition of Earth Week, April 19-23, the Faculty House Dining Room will be serving local, sustainable menus for its lunch buffet. The buffet will showcase ingredients, including meat, produce, and cheese, straight from local farms. In addition, all seafood will be sourced according to the Monterey Bay Sustainable Seafood ‘Best Choices’ guidelines.

A few menu highlights for the week include New Jersey’s Berenato Farm Beet Salad with Feta Cheese Citrus Vinaigrette; Beef Tournedos from Stone and Thistle Farm with Marchand de Vin Sauce; Long Island Red Bliss Potato Salad from Briermere Farm; and Pan-Seared Tilapia with Brown Butter and Toasted Almonds. For reservations, call 212-854-1200.

The Columbia University team, in particular the Facilities Capital Project Management team and their many partners worked to achieve this remarkable success. They invite you to lunch at Faculty House during Earth Week to celebrate.

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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