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Academic Building Goes Green

The new SUNY College at Old Westbury Academic Building has become the first building on a college or university campus in Nassau County to be awarded LEED Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council.


The first new academic facility constructed at on campus since 1985, the 147,000 square foot Academic Building opened last summer and provides much needed teaching spaces and faculty offices to serve the College’s more than 4,500 students. 


 “In the 12 months since it opened, the Academic Building has rejuvenated the College’s academic programming while also revitalizing the campus atmosphere for the students who study with us,” said College President Calvin O. Butts, III.  

“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.  Our Gold-certified Academic Building puts us in prime position to succeed on both fronts.” 


The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction – certified, silver, gold and platinum – that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five sustainable design categories. According to the USGBC, “LEED

certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”


To complete the academic building construction, the College and the State University Construction Fund worked with Kliment Halsband Architects, MPC Corporation, and a wide array of local contractors, and suppliers.


Some of the sustainable design features and practices that were incorporated into the design of the academic building include the maximization of natural light while limiting heat gain; highly efficient heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; more efficient lighting fixtures; and an emphasis on effective stormwater infiltration.


The academic building is expected to use 29 percent less energy than conventional buildings, while the use of water-conserving fixtures inside the building are expected to achieve savings of 48 percent. Approximately 43 percent of the construction materials used in the building came from the region while the use of building materials featuring recycled content at a rate of 44.5 percent helped divert material from landfills and low-toxicity building materials improve indoor air quality.


Landscaping was done with native and adaptive species that require no permanent irrigation and the building’s design allows for 100 percent of stormwater runoff to permeate the ground through increased landscaping and reduced impervious areas.  Fifty-eight percent of outdoor walkways, masonry, seating areas and 100 percent of roof area uses reflective materials to lower cooling loads and reduce heat-island effect.