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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Fall 2009 Table of Contents

More Sustainable Square Feet

BU completes first Charles River Campus certified green construction project

| From Commonwealth | By Chris Berdik

BEFORE: "Dark and chaotic" is how Lisa Tornatore (CAS’02), facilities and events manager at Sargent, describes the school’s old Makechnie Study Center: tables topped by aging computers, and defunct darkrooms.

AFTER: The newly renovated space, she says, is "lighter and airier," with a central quiet zone featuring new computers, glass-walled group study rooms, a conference room, and a digital editing suite.

This spring, the Sargent College of Health & Reha­bilitation Sciences study center, named for the late George Makechnie (SED’29,’31, Hon.’79), longtime dean of Sargent College, became the first space on the Charles River Campus to earn LEED certification for environmentally friendly building from the U.S. Green Building Council. The use of recycled or rapidly renewable materials (such as bamboo walls and cork flooring) and energy-efficient lighting systems and electronics were among many steps that qualified the 3,000-square-foot area for green certification.

“You can see this place doesn’t look like your typical institutional study space,” Shaun Finn (SMG’11) says, pointing out a button on the drop ceiling that measures the level of natural light and dims the overhead lights accordingly. Finn, project manager for construction services in Facilities Management and Planning, notes that the paint and the charcoal-gray carpet are both low VOC, meaning they contain almost no volatile organic compounds, which can cause health problems. “The renovation really aligns with part of the mission of this college, which is creating healthy buildings,” says Finn.

Construction projects can earn a basic LEED certification or qualify for silver, gold, or platinum. The Makechnie Center took silver, missing gold by one point.

The new center is made of nearly 14 percent recycled material, is stocked with more than 90 percent EnergyStar-rated computers, and beats energy-efficiency standards in lighting.

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