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SUNY Old Westbury building first in Nassau to earn energy efficiency status

SUNY Old Westbury president Calvin O. Butts III

SUNY Old Westbury president Calvin O. Butts III showed the new Academic Building earlier this year. He says the building now has a top green ranking in Nassau County, which "puts us in a prime position to succeed" at stimulating students' "passion for learning and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world." (March 22, 2013) (Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa)

A new SUNY Old Westbury building has earned a gold LEED certification, becoming the first higher education facility in Nassau County to hold that status, university and environmental officials said.

The new 147,000-square-foot Academic Building, opened last summer, is the first new academic facility built at the college since 1985, officials said. The facility primarily holds classrooms and faculty offices, said Mike Kinane, assistant to the president for advancement.

“The mission statement of Old Westbury calls on us to stimulate in our students a passion for learning and a commitment to building a more just and sustainable world,” college president Calvin O. Butts III said in a statement. “Our gold-certified Academic Building puts us in prime position to succeed on both fronts.”

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LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, gives third-party verification of green buildings by measuring the environmental impact of a construction project. By meeting prerequisites, building projects can earn points and achieve various levels of certification.

The LEED rating system offers four levels of certification for new construction projects, and only platinum outranks gold. There are no LEED Platinum facilities among Nassau higher education projects, said Jacob Kriss, with the U.S. Green Building Council.

Among the sustainable design features inside Old Westbury’s Academic Building, officials said, is that natural light is maximized and heat gain limited. The new facility boasts new air conditioning and ventilating systems, more efficient lighting fixtures and heating, along with a better stormwater infiltration system.

Officials expect the new building to use 29 percent less energy than conventional buildings. They added that water-conserving fixtures are expected to achieve savings up to 48 percent.

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