FORUM Vol. 39, No. 5, September 22, 2014


University earns first LEED Platinum status


The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons was awarded LEED Platinum status by the U.S. Green Building Council — the highest of four possible levels of certification.

As the first LEED Platinum library in Michigan, the facility demonstrates the university’s commitment to sustainable progress through innovative design and construction.

Planned to be the intellectual heart of the Allendale Campus, the facility was completed and dedicated in 2013. LEED certification is based on several factors, including site sustainability, water efficiency, energy use, materials and resources, environmental quality and innovation in design.

Mary Idema Pew Library

The Mary Idema Pew Library Learning and Information Commons received LEED Platinum status, the first library in Michigan with that designation.

With more than 154,000 square feet of space, the Mary Idema Pew Library is more than double the size of the former James H. Zumberge Library and has triple the seating capacity. The library boasts multiple customizable spaces for both quiet studying and collaborative work, more than 700,000 books, 1 million e-books, an abundance of natural lighting, outdoor work spaces and a Knowledge Marketplace where students can find academic support services.

The library incorporates a multitude of energy management and green practices beyond what are usually incorporated into a library building. These features include energy-efficient under-floor air distribution, super-efficient exterior walls, a heat recovery system to reduce heating demands, low-flow water fixtures that reduce water usage, a rainwater-fed irrigation system to eliminate use of potable water for landscaping and the usage of locally-manufactured materials in the production process, among many others.

“The university embarked on a journey to improve its energy signature more than 10 years ago,” said James Moyer, associate vice president for Facilities Planning. “We concentrated on making the building more energy efficient from both a basic construction perspective and an operations perspective. We had to reduce the energy signature of the buildings, then operate the buildings as designed.”