Environmental Initiatives and Sustainability

High performance building design aspects were addressed at all stages of the design process for New Student Housing, New Dining Commons and Alumni Walk projects.

We reviewed technology and design options, selected materials, managed waste, modeled for energy performance, life cycle costing, and contractor specifications. For both the New Student Housing and the New Dining Commons/Alumni Walk projects, Bates and the architects established sustainability goals equivalent to LEED Green Building Silver rating. LEED registration and documentation were not performed in consideration of the cost.

What is LEED?

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council for the U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Office of Building Technology, State and Community Programs, and is intended for use by building project stakeholders or project team members as a guide for green and sustainable design.

LEED is a self-assessing system designed for rating new and existing commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential buildings. It is a feature-oriented system where points are earned for satisfying each criterion. Different levels of green building certification are awarded based on the total points earned. The system is designed to be comprehensive in scope, yet simple in operation.

Certification levels include Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

Criteria are grouped into 6 major categories with a prespecified amount of possible points. Major categories are further defined into multiple credit topics that describe the intent, requirements and basic technologies/ strategies for each credit. Four of the major categories have one or more prerequisites that do not accumulate points.

Major Categories

  • Sustainable Sites — Example: Erosion and sediment control, bicycle storage, storm water treatment.
  • Water Efficiency — Example: Reduce or eliminate irrigation, water efficient landscaping.
  • Energy and Atmosphere — Example: Building systems commissioning, energy analysis, eliminate HCFC’s.
  • Materials and Resources — Example: Recycling areas, certified wood and construction waste management.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality — Example: Low emitting paints, adhesives, daylight, energy monitoring etc.
  • Innovation and Design Process — Example: Education, emissions reduction, energy star appliances.

The LEED documents represent the U.S. Green Building Council’s efforts to develop a standard that improves environmental and economic performance of commercial buildings using established and/or advanced industry principles, practices, materials and standards. They are subject to change from time to time in the future.

Additional information regarding LEED-Accredited professionals, available resources, LEED Certified and Registered Projects workshops and membership can be found on the Web at

Sustainability features of current projects

New Dining Commons/Alumni Walk

  • Storm water management system that limits the peak storm water discharge rate from exceeding the pre-development discharge rate
  • “Dual flush” toilets providing half a flush (about .8 gallons) or full flush (about 1.6 gallons), reducing water usage by about 65 percent
  • Sensor operated faucets, also to reduce water use
  • Implementing a comprehensive best practice building commissioning
  • No HCFC (ozone layer damaging) refrigerants used within the building
  • All of the building’s electrical power will be from 100 percent Maine renewable energy sources
  • Building designed for energy use below that required by ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-1999
  • Natural ventilation strategies for cooling
  • Heat recovery of campus steam condensate to preheat domestic water
  • Daylighting strategies in the main dining hall
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting
  • High efficiency equipment
  • Dedicated area for storage and separation of materials, including food waste, for recycling
  • Construction waste recycling program
  • Certified wood and salvaged wood will be used in wood ceilings and veneers
  • Constructed with Low-Emitting Materials
  • Heat island reduction (shade trees)
  • Water efficient landscaping (no irrigation required or provided)
  • Reduced impervious surfaces
  • Improved water retention and metering

New Student Housing

  • Energy performance 25 percent more efficient than code
  • Water use reduction (0.5 GPM sinks, 2.0 GPM shower heads)
  • Renewable energy (100 percent of electrical load offset by renewable energy source)
  • Landscape/Site (50 percent or more of open space maintained)
  • Storm water management via retention in underground tanks
  • Carbon dioxide monitoring system for heating and ventilating systems
  • No HCFC (ozone layer damaging) refrigerants
  • Performance lighting
  • Occupancy sensors for lighting
  • Alternative transportation (bike racks and bike shed)
  • Heat island reduction (shade trees)
  • Water efficient landscaping (no irrigation required or provided)
  • Construction waste management (specified with a goal of 75 percent of waste recycled)
  • Recycled content (post consumer) products (specified)
  • Forest Steward Council certified wood (50 percent wood-based products specified)
  • Low-emitting materials (specified)
  • Indoor pollutant control (entry grilles)
  • System controllability (individual light, temperature, ventilation)
  • Daylight and views (90 percent of spaces)
  • Dedicated recycling centers throughout the facility
  • Building commissioning