With its first ever Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification, which was awarded in March to the Center for Environmental and Life Sciences (CELS), Montclair State University joins a handful of “green” buildings on New Jersey campuses that have earned the prestigious designation.
LEED is the benchmark for sustainable architecture and construction throughout the world. Buildings receive points to attain four categories of LEED certification: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. In each instance, buildings must meet rigorous standards for efficiency and sustainability by using less water and energy, and by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Along with other University initiatives designed to reduce institutional energy consumption, the Gold certification reinforces Montclair State’s leadership in sustainability practices.
“With our PhD in Environmental Management, undergraduate and graduate degrees in Sustainability Science, our Passaic River Institute and our PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies, this LEED Gold certification reflects our desire to be a leader in educating and studying all aspects of the environment – and to continue to walk the walk even in our infrastructure,” says College of Science and Mathematics Dean Robert Prezant.
According to University Facilities Project Manager, AIA, Frank Cunha III, the LEED process was initiated in 2008, when the CELS building was being planned. “Starting early allowed us to find synergies which could help us make decisions that would positively affect the project as it moved forward,” he recalls.
Opened in 2015, the $55 million, 107,500-square-foot CELS building is a state-of-the-art laboratory and research space that meets the needs of the University’s expanding sustainability, environmental, pharmaceutical and life sciences programs.
While CELS is the first campus building to receive LEED Gold status, it is not the first campus building to receive LEED certification. University Hall is LEED-Certified. Cunha also notes that the University is on track with LEED reviews for pending Silver certifications for the Feliciano School of Business building and the soon-to-be-completed home for the School of Communication and Media.
By earning 61 points in categories ranging from water efficiency design innovation, CELS achieved LEED Gold status. “While the CELS building had set a goal of Silver level certification, we were able to identify more than 10 additional points to earn the Gold certification,” says Cunha.