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University of Cincinnati building awarded LEED Gold

The University of Cincinnati (UC) has been awarded with its fifth LEED certified building.  With a rating of LEED Gold the CARE/Crawley Building on UC's east campus is the newest addition to the universities green initiative.  UC a university known for its cutting edge architecture is now striving towards environmentally friendly architecture.

LEED which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a rating system created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).  LEED rates a building on aspects of sustainability such as, site selection, water use, material use, indoor air quality, and energy consumption.  To achieve LEED Gold the CARE/Crawley Building had to obtain credits in all of these categories.

Reduction of water consumption was one of the main design features for CARE/Crawley Building.  According to the UC website CARE/Crawley Building was designed with an extensive stormwater detention system.  This system provides water to an irrigation system for the landscape.  The system also reduces the amount of water runoff into the municipal sewage system.  The advantage of a system like this is it saves the city money by reducing water purification needs.  It saves the university money by reducing the amount of water purchased from the city.  More importantly it reduces the amount of consumed fresh water.  Using stormwater in an irrigation system reducs the amount of potable water needed thus reduces the demand on the water provider.  With a large project like this there is a significant reduction of water usage.  This particular stormwater detention system is designed to hold a maximum of 90,000 gallons of water.

The CARE/Crawley Building design minimizes the "Heat Island" effect.  This is very important in an urban environment such as a university campus.  To reduce radiant heat gain the design incorporates reflective roofing material and minimizedthe amount of impervious surface, such as sidewalks and surface parking.  These strategies greatly reduce cooling load by reducing the amount of absorbed heat into the building.  This is very important for a laboratory space such as in the CARE/Crawley building.  Laboratory spaces has equipment that generates heat which increases the cooling load need.  By reducing the "heat island" effect it offsets and reduces the cooling load.

The main architectural attraction to the building is a nine story glass atrium.  This atrium is also an excellent sustainable design feature.  Large expanses of glass allow light to penetrate deep into interior spaces.  Bringing natural light into interior spaces can greatly reduce the amount of artificial light need to light the space.  With a nine story curtain wall system each floor of the building is provided with ample light during the day.

It is easy to see that UC is moving towards a greener campus.  CARE/Crawley Building was a giant leep in UC's green initiative.  Now with five LEED certified projects and a sixth on the way UC is providing an example other universities hopefully will follow.

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