The U.S. Green Building Council, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit agency that promotes sustainability, has granted the Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) award to the 34,000-square-foot facility at UofL’s Speed School of Engineering.

We promised to be a leader in sustainability and energy efficiency, President James Ramsey said. The LEED certification of the Duthie Center is further proof of that commitment.

The building, dedicated in 1947, most recently housed the engineering library. Renovating an existing building and site automatically qualified it for several LEED credits. Added sustainability features qualified the building for LEED gold certification.

The renovation reused 95 percent of the structure, including exterior walls, roof decking and structural floor; during demolition, 77 percent of the materials that weren’t reused were recycled. New building materials had 27 percent recycled content, and 31 percent were produced regionally.

Lighting and air controls were designed to adjust for individual needs, with energy-saving thermostats and a shutdown of the air-handling unit and classroom lighting when the space is unoccupied. The lighting uses energy-efficient fixtures and eliminates incandescent lamps.

The center uses 54 percent less water than is typical for its fixtures. For better air quality, greener materials were used inside and a special entrance reduces dirt and dust at the doorway. Other features include new landscaping and patio areas, designated parking spots for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles, secure bike racks and nearby access to bus lines and shuttle.

Duthie Center for Engineering, the university’s first LEED-certified renovation project, is a wonderful example where education theory becomes a reality for our students, said Ken Dietz, university architect and director of planning, design and construction. The project underscores the university’s intention to achieve dynamic growth while demonstrating a commitment to sustainability through reclamation, responsible construction practices, recycling programs, energy and natural resource management.

The center houses the Speed School’s career development center, the Hagerty student commons area with food court, freshman engineering teaching laboratories and classrooms. It also houses offices and laboratories for the computer engineering and computer science department.

It is extremely rewarding to see how the Duthie Center has evolved over the years, said Barry Abrams, project manager of the renovation with Lord, Aeck and Sargent Architecture. It has served many functions and gone through several renovations and additions. It’s exciting to be a part of its new life, once again serving many diverse student, teaching and research functions while being responsive to our sensitive environment.

UofL’s new Clinical and Translational Research Building received Gold LEED certification earlier this year.