GGC celebrates golden achievement

Georgia Gwinnett College recently hosted a reception for the design and construction teams responsible for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification awarded to the GGC Library and Learning Center by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Georgia Gwinnett College recently hosted a reception for the design and construction teams responsible for the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification awarded to the GGC Library and Learning Center by the U.S. Green Building Council.

During the reception, attendees viewed a special plaque that will hang in the foyer of the library as a permanent reminder of their achievement.

GGC’s facility is one of only seven Gold-certified academic libraries in the nation, and the first in Georgia. Designing and building a library to LEED specifications is challenging, as libraries traditionally use large amounts of energy for lighting and for climate control systems needed to preserve printed materials.  The building also is the fifth Gold-certified facility in Gwinnett County.

“From the start, our students made it very clear that they wanted their college to uphold the highest standards of environmental responsibility and stewardship,” said GGC President Daniel J. Kaufman.  “Earning a LEED Gold certification is a testament to our students’ collective vision, our staff’s dedication to that vision, the insightful skills of the building’s designers at Leo A. Daly and the quality work by Potts Construction of Conyers.”

The LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of sustainable buildings. By using recycled materials and consuming less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the community.

The international architecture, planning, engineering, interior design and program management firm Leo A. Daly answered the challenge with a design that surpassed expectations, as the college had requested that the building achieve LEED Silver certification.

Using an integrated design approach and strategy that included high-efficiency lighting fixtures, windows that saturated 75 percent of the interior spaces with natural daylight as well as efficient insulation, the team achieved a 32 percent reduction in energy use.

Recycling and reusing materials during construction was another area of emphasis. More than 95 percent of the construction waste was diverted from landfills to local recycling facilities. Almost 95 percent of the reinforced steel used was recycled from scrap cars. The building’s drywall is made of 95 percent recycled content and is a by-product of industrial waste material. All the wood ceilings in the building are fabricated from 97 percent recycled materials. Additionally, more than 30 percent of the recycled content had been originally used within a 500-mile radius of the site.

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