Western Michigan hall garners highest green building ranking
Photo courtesy of Western Michigan University
Western Michigan University's historic Heritage Hall has earned platinum status, the highest ranking possible, in the Leadership in Environment and Energy Design—LEED—system, which is the nation's most widely used green building ranking.
The University was notified earlier this month by the U.S. Green Building Council, which manages the ranking system, that the renovated birthplace of the university has achieved its highest status, making the WMU facility the first LEED platinum building in the Kalamazoo region, according to the school.
Heritage Hall, which opened in 1905, was WMU's first building and sits atop Prospect Hill, overlooking downtown Kalamazoo. Acquisition of the property and the funds to build the facility played a large part in gaining state approval in 1903 to locate a new normal school in Kalamazoo.
The school eventually evolved into Western Michigan University. In 2015, renovation of what is close to the building's original footprint was completed, and it was reopened as Heritage Hall, home to the WMU Alumni Center and a resource for the entire community.
A major focus of the renovation effort was to turn the least energy efficient building on campus into one of the most efficient in the region and state.
"We set out to honor our campus and community's history and showcase how that history can be leveraged with the use of technology to build an energy efficient future," WMU President John M. Dunn said. "The LEED Platinum certification is one acknowledgement that we've accomplished both goals. I'm proud of our business and facilities teams who worked with historic preservation specialists and outstanding design and construction professionals to make our goals become realities."
WMU's goal from the start of the project led it to pursue such elements as geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting, energy efficient windows and a high level of repurposed historic building materials. The energy-saving elements alone make Heritage Hall more than 50 percent more efficient than buildings that use more traditional elements.
In addition to being Kalamazoo's first LEED platinum building in any category, the designation makes Heritage Hall:
- The second LEED platinum building in any category in Michigan higher education.
- One of only eight new construction LEED platinum buildings in Michigan.
While Heritage Hall is the University's first platinum building, WMU has 14 other buildings that have achieved LEED certification, including Sangren Hall, which was certified LEED gold in 2014. Certification is pending for five additional WMU buildings.
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Companies: U.S. Green Building Council