Colgate’s newest building, Benton Hall, is now its first to earn LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Benton Hall, home to Colgate’s Center for Career Services, the Office of National Fellowships and Scholarships, and Thought Into Action, was designed from day one with sustainable construction methods, materials, and long-term energy conservation in mind.
The U.S. Green Building Council certifies buildings at four levels: certified, silver, gold, and platinum.
“LEED is not a simple process. Architectural, operational, and sustainability experts discuss various options for parts of a building most of us don’t even consider, such as insulated windows or native plants,” said Maggie Dunn ’19, a LEED green associate who helps with building energy monitoring on campus. “Speaking from personal experience, I know how hard the Colgate team has worked to bring Benton Hall to life and how incredible and rewarding it is to say that Colgate finally has a LEED platinum building on our campus.”
Since opening the LEED Gold Trudy Fitness Center in 2011, Colgate committed to green building practices for all new construction and major renovations, with a minimum goal of LEED Silver certification. In 2017, the Class of 1965 Arena earned LEED Gold.
Named after Colgate trustee and lead donor Daniel C. Benton ’80, P’10, H’10, Benton Hall was built with 75 percent of its construction waste recycled or salvaged. Stone was sourced within a 500-mile radius, and a passive house design was utilized to help reduce energy consumption by almost half in comparison to traditional designs.
In addition, efficient plumbing fixtures conserve drinking water, and high-performing windows and lighting reduce energy usage, as do vacancy occupancy sensors and daylight responsive light dimming.
“The main determining factors that led to the platinum certification were credited to the robust envelope design, coupled with the building’s efficient energy systems that cut overall consumption rates and increased visitor comfort and satisfaction with the space,” said Project Manager Joe Inman. “The balance of the design focused in on sustainable site, stormwater management, energy performance, the use of regional materials, and excellent indoor air quality goals."
Of the possible 110 points on the LEED certification scale, Benton Hall attempted 80, and was awarded every single one.
For Teresa Olsen, assistant vice president and director of career services, Benton Hall’s environmental enhancements, and considerations have a significant impact on day-to-day life in the bustling building.
“Walking into Benton Hall early every morning, the space just feels energetic,” Olsen said. “From the use of natural light down to the water-bottle filling stations, each detail related to sustainability feels like it was considered with the utmost respect to the level of responsibility one should have when adding a building to the academic quad.”