Community college achieves recognition for green achievement

January 8, 2013

Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Washington, is starting the New Year off right. The Bothell Reporter claims that the higher education institution has announced that its Global Learning and the Arts Building has been award the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification – the highest rating available by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The news source reports that this is the first LEED platinum certification the college has received and the first of its kind in the state of Washington. The Cascadia Community College building covers 53,400-square feet and was initially opened in spring 2010. However, it just received recognition as an LEED-qualified building due to paperwork and process requirements.

"This award is a tremendous honor, and represents an enormous commitment by Cascadia, the project architect, and the construction team to ensure that our building met the stringent criteria established for LEED Platinum green buildings," Dee Sliney, Cascadia’s Director of Facilities Services and Sustainability and a LEED Accredited Professional, told the news source.

The green building features a number of sustainable characteristics. The Bothell Reporter claims that rainwater tanks are used to provide toilet water, and green-roof gardens provide for natural cooling. Trees that were initially removed from the site for construction purposes were later incorporated in various ways throughout the design of the structure.

"Building operations are nearly 40 percent of the solution to the global climate change challenge," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council, according to the news source. "While climate change is a global problem, innovative companies like Cascadia Community College are addressing it through local solutions."

By incorporating the use of sustainable solutions in an educational facility, building developers are promoting the use of green technology to younger generations. Students see the active use of sustainable technology and how it is improving a facility and may determine that the solutions could be incorporated in other structures. Initiatives across the nation are attempting to promote the development of green building. For example, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) promotes the adoption sustainability practices in Philadelphia. Established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) as an Energy-Regional Innovation Cluster, the agency is just one example of outside organizations trying to increase the incorporating of green technology in new commercial structures.