Klaus Building Receives LEED Gold Certification

Georgia Tech's ongoing commitment to campus sustainability received validation last month when the Christopher W. Klaus Advanced Computing Building (KACB), home to the College of Computing and the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, was awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides a comprehensive system of standards for environmentally sound practices across all aspects of development and construction. In addition to raising awareness and promoting the benefits of 'green building,' achieving certification grants recognition to the leaders in sustainable practices, from new construction to the renovation of existing buildings.

LEED status is given in four categories-Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum-which address six major areas: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. When a building is submitted for certification, points are awarded for compliance in these areas.

Silver certification-which ranges from 33 to 38 points-was the goal in constructing KACB, said project manager Ron LeRoy. Upon its completion in 2006 and the subsequent submittal for certification, KACB ultimately was awarded with 42 points, enough for the Gold certification. LeRoy explained that because sometimes design aspects do not always translate to points with USGBC, architects and engineers aimed for more points than necessary for Silver certification. "We were seeking as many points as we could possibly get," said LeRoy.

The 414,000-square-foot structure conforms to the land, echoing the site's curvature while preserving 50 percent of the landscape as green space. Storm water runoff is managed and recovered in underground cisterns. Extensive use of recyclables in the building's construction and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems round out the sustainable features, along with features that contribute to reduced water usage, such as native plants in the landscaping and waterless urinals.

"This shows that we at Georgia Tech are being proactive," LeRoy said. "We strive to be good stewards, and we're doing the right thing not only for the campus, but for everyone. Not many realize it, but the cisterns assist in campus watering efforts during the drought."

Klaus is the second Tech building to receive LEED
certification. In 2003, the College of Management building received a Silver designation-only the second LEED-certified building in the state of Georgia at the time.

"Georgia Tech was one of the first universities to embrace the LEED guidelines in helping to inform intelligent design decisions during the planning and design process," said Howard S. Wertheimer, director of Capital Planning & Space Management. In fact, the Institute's Architecture and Engineering Design Standards for Building Technology (Georgia Tech's 'Yellow Book') -commitment to a comprehensive 'green' building program- means all capital projects will be implemented under LEED requirements for Silver certification.

"Georgia Tech will continue to seek opportunities to expand our leadership in campus sustainability initiatives that will enable us to continue to reduce our carbon footprint," said Wertheimer, himself a LEED-certified architect. "The Klaus Building is one small step in that process."