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Brown-Kopel Engineering Center receives LEED certification

By Virginia Speirs

Published: May 27, 2021 2:24:00 PM

Front entrance of the Brown-Kopel Center Front entrance of the Brown-Kopel Center

The Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center recently received silver certification by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a green building certification program used worldwide. 

Certification level is based on the amount of points achieved out of a possible 110 points in LEED v3. Points are awarded for features in six categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation and design. 

“One thing that is built into Auburn’s design and construction standards is to seek a LEED silver-level certification design,” said Simon Yendle, university architect and assistant vice president for Auburn University Facilities Management.  

Notable features of the Brown-Kopel Center that helped achieve silver certification include: diverting 80% of construction waste from landfills, using 34% less water than buildings of comparable program and size, and installing energy efficient air handler units that, when compared to industry baselines, use 20% less energy. The project also prioritized incorporating regional materials, of which 34% of materials by cost are sourced within 500 miles of Auburn, according to Kevin Johnson, architect and principal in the higher education studio at SmithGroup. 

“There are other things we did, as well,” Johnson said. “The Gavin Garden is a giant roof-deck on top of research space, creating the largest green roof at Auburn. It helps reduce heat island effect, which is common for a traditional roof. There are other things like that that were inherent to the design before we even started the LEED certification process.” 

LEED-certified buildings on Auburn’s campus go all the way up to gold-level certification. The certified buildings include the Wilford S. Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital and the Veterinary Education Building. Silver-certified buildings include the Aquatic Resources Management Center, the Track and Soccer Facility, the Information Technology Building-OIT and Brown-Kopel. The gold-certified buildings include the Miller Gorrie Center, the Jay and Susie Gogue Performing Arts Center and the Auburn Research and Technology Foundation Building. 

“We think doing the right thing from a sustainability standpoint is the best thing for our campus,” Yendle said. “We’re not so wrapped up in pursuing the certification, to us it’s more important to build sustainable buildings and just doing the right thing for the environment.” 

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings, according to its website.

Media Contact: Cassie Montgomery, cmontgomery@auburn.edu, 334.844.3668

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