LAWRENCE — The Center for Design Research building on KU’s West Campus has earned a LEED Platinum Rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The project was designed and built by School of Architecture, Design and Planning’s Studio 804 and dedicated in the spring of 2011.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was developed by the USGBC to set high standards for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. At this time there are only seven LEED Platinum Buildings in Kansas. The first was the 5.4.7 Art Center in Greensburg, which was also designed and built by Studio 804 in 2008. The CDR is the fourth straight Studio 804 project to achieve Platinum.
In order to receive certification, a candidate building’s performance is measured in several key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation. Data is collected during the design of the building; materials used and construction methods are documented during construction, and verified by a third-party organization after the building is in operation.
“Achieving any LEED certification at all requires a tremendous commitment, and the owners and designers of very few buildings do it,” said Dan Rockhill, the school’s J.L. Constant Professor of Design who directs Studio 804. “The work involved in creating the submission for a Platinum building is extremely complex, very time consuming, and excruciatingly detailed. It takes an amazing amount of tenacity to follow it all the way through to completion
“The construction itself is also more exacting than that of a regular building,” he explained. “And the documentation and recordkeeping are extremely arduous. We even have to track that our construction waste was disposed of responsibly, and recycled if possible.”
“The difficulty is compounded immeasurably if you were not involved in designing or building the project,” said Rockhill, who commended students Rhett Morgan, Mount Pleasant, S.C., and Seamus McGuire, Kenner, La., for helping complete LEED certification last year after the group originally responsible had graduated.