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Pitzer Participant - Summer 2005

Going for Gold

The Residential Life and Learning Committee worked diligently during the past year with the Design/Build Project Team to develop the plans for the building and landscape program. The overall project design is guided by the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) criteria. The initial goal for the project was to achieve a Silver LEED Certification. However, because of the strong efforts on the part of the project team it appears that a Gold LEED rating is now within reach. Consequently, the project team has been instructed to “Go for Gold.”

So, what does this mean? The Silver and Gold certifications signify different levels of sustainability as measured by the LEED program. There are four levels of certification—Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum, which are achieved by earning points from a “menu” of sustainability features. The more points the building earns, the higher the score and certification level. The system is a voluntary one, with the certification levels defined and named the way they are to create a “report card” that allows people to understand how “green” a project is. The LEED system allows for flexibility in how a project achieves a particular score by allowing some projects, for instance, to earn more points focusing on water conservation issues (important in the arid West) or on energy issues (important in the Northeast).

As evidence of Pitzer’s commitment, we have set aside a project contingency fund to enable us to absorb anticipated additional costs that may be necessary to achieve Gold LEED certification. It is important to realize, however, that success in achieving Gold is not purely a money issue but is largely dependent upon the commitment of the College and the entire project team to achieve this rare level of certification for this building type. If we are successful, we will join a very small cohort of colleges that have achieved Gold.

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Pitzer College
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