The Carleton College Weitz Center for Creativity received a small addition last week: a golden plaque with the words “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design 2013.”
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification provides “…a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.” It uses a points system to certify a buildings’ environmental impact.
“The College is very proud to have garnered LEED gold certification for the Weitz Center,” said President Steven Poskanzer. “This is an important public acknowledgement that we succeeded in our intention to design and operate a building that reflects Carleton’s commitment to wise environmental stewardship.”
“We are glad that the center sets a strong example on the issue of sustainability,” said Drew Weitz ’02, an important contributor to building the Weitz Center, “and believe that is a reflection of Carleton’s values overall.”
The Climate Action Plan has now adopted a goal of LEED Silver when designing new buildings. “We believe this not only aids in the global climate issues,” Fred Rogers, Vice President and Treasurer, said, “but also helps us save energy and money by keeping our buildings more efficient.”
The Climate Action Plan also considers the possible introduction of carbon taxes, “positioning the college for lower emissions and energy consumption in the future,” Rogers said.
The certification also shows the hard work of so many people to improve Carleton’s sustainability, both in Weitz and the rest of campus. “We believe that the LEED certification process brings accountability and recognition to the work that we are doing to make the campus sustainable,” Rogers said.
According to the 2012 Greenhouse Gas Report, the metric tons of Carbon Dioxide Equivalent (MTCDE), a standard measure for greenhouse gas emissions was 24,000 in the year 2012 compared to 28,000 in 2011. The current environmental impact represents a five year low for Carleton; it reflects the second wind turbine becoming operational in October, 2012.
The Greenhouse Gas Report also highlights buildings over 25 years old as built “during (an) era of cheap energy.”
Carleton currently has 42 percent of its buildings over 50 years old compared to 24 percent for its peer institutions. For buildings just over 25 years old, Carleton has an equivalent percentage of buildings.
In the end, environmental sustainability helps more than the environment “Our long term financial model makes it clear that everything we can do to lower or slow the rate of increase of our “fixed costs” is important to maintaining the quality of the academic enterprise and the overall student experience,” Rogers said.