Faculty House is Awarded LEED Gold - April 16, 2010

Columbia University announced today that the recently renovated Faculty House has been awarded the prestigious Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification by the United States Green Building Council. This is a significant and state-of -the-art environmental milestone for Faculty House and Columbia University, making it the first LEED Gold Certified building on Morningside campus. Moreover, Faculty House is the only building of its kind in New York City and the first McKim, Mead & White building in the country to be given this designation.  

The United States Green Building Council describes the LEED system as "the nationally accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings." Some of the features of the Faculty House restoration included integrated energy-efficient and water-conserving utilities, appliances, fixtures and insulation; installation of new HVAC system, providing clean air quality; recycled, low-emission furnishings, materials and finishes as well as locally made materials; restored original details, repurposed old materials, donated used equipment and recycled construction waste. Faculty House was awarded a notable 44 out of 44 total points attempted.  

Yetsuh Frank, the Director, Programs & Policy at Urban Green Council, U.S. Green Building Council of New York explains "To the best of our knowledge, Faculty House is the only building of its kind in New York City to have been awarded LEED Gold Certification. What's more exciting for us at Urban Green Council about the Faculty House project is that it shows that historic preservation and sustainability can be compatible. Renovating existing buildings plays an essential role in achieving PlaNYC goals. Improving new construction standards can only help us so much and this project proves that even a landmark building can make significant environmental improvements."  

"It is sort of a confirmation and affirmation for us," said Joe Ienuso, Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities, of the gold award. "I suspect this will add a ... great sense of pride and ownership in the building."

Scott Wright, Vice President of Campus Services for Columbia, who oversaw the renovation, says "Achieving LEED Gold Certification in this treasured property is an important statement about Columbia University, and in particular, about Columbia's commitment to sustainable services. Faculty House now provides our guests a blend of historical architecture and of-the-moment amenities. We have traditional menus created from locally sourced foods - it really is the perfect blend of classic and contemporary hospitality." 

The Faculty House LEED Gold Certification comes on the heels of the LEED Silver Certification of the Gary C. Comer Geochemistry Building, the University's first project to earn LEED Certification.  

With its renovation completed, Faculty House will now focus on providing the highest quality green meetings and events. Some current practices include catering with silverware, glass and china, water pitchers and glasses instead of bottled water, recycling receptacles at every event, and customized local and organic menus available upon request.  

In celebration of its LEED Gold Certification and in recognition of Earth Week, April 19-23, the Faculty House Dining Room will be serving local, sustainable menus for its lunch buffet. The buffet will showcase ingredients, including meat, produce, and cheese, straight from local farms. In addition, all seafood will be sourced according to the Monterey Bay Sustainable Seafood ‘Best Choices' guidelines.  

About Faculty House
Columbia University Faculty House, a McKim, Mead & White campus landmark for more than 85 years, officially reopened its doors following a complete renovation in September 2009. The 38,000-square-foot facility hosts receptions, social events, meetings, conferences and seminars, accommodating groups from four to 375. Additional information about the Faculty House can be obtained by calling (212) 854-1200 or emailing http://www.facultyhouse.com/.  

About the U.S. Green Building Council
The U.S. Green Building Council is the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work.  

--Click here to read more about Faculty House's renovations 
-- Photos by Tom Crane