UofL received word earlier this year that the the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit agency based in Washington, D.C., that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation, had given Gold certification to UofL’s new Clinical and Translational Research building.

During a ceremony held inside the 288,000-square-foot building at 505 S. Hancock St., university officials, USGBC Kentucky Chapter Board Chair Cliff Ashburner and Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Leonard Peters unveiled a wall plaque from the USGBC to signify the honor.

This university is demonstrating true leadership in the areas of energy efficiency and sustainability, Peters told the group gathered for the occasion. UofL, he said, is showing others that green buildings are not only a wise choice but a matter of dollars and cents.

LEED essentially is a design tool that allows building projects to score points for such things as the building’s location, its conservation of energy and water, creative use of recycled and other environmentally friendly materials and the creation of a high level of indoor environmental quality, Ashburner told the crowd.

Among other things, he said, UofL scored high on reducing potable water use by more than 40 percent and on using captured water from other building systems for landscape irrigation; for procuring more than one-third of the building materials from within 500 miles of the building and for using more than 25 percent recycled building materials; and for introducing natural light into 75 percent of the occupied spaces and focusing on indoor air quality and efficiency.

Receiving a Gold LEED certification is not easy, Ashburner said. UofL had to meet very strict criteria. The university earned 41 LEED credits – two more than the 39 required for a Gold rating.

UofL President James Ramsey noted that UofL’s efforts to operate sustainably are widespread and include such things as a $21.7 million project in cooperation with Siemens to trim energy use and a single-stream recycling program that is operating on a pilot basis in 34 buildings before going university-wide.

This institution’s commitment to sustainability began years ago, and it’s encouraging to receive national recognition for our efforts, Ramsey said.

Those efforts include other construction and renovation projects. UofL is pursuing LEED certification for its new Center for Predictive Medicine at Shelby Hurst, and for renovations of its School of Dentistry and the Duthie Center for Engineering, which formerly was the engineering library.