It's a first for the University of Rochester. The Saunders Research Building has been given gold certification by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. It's the standard for green building in the country.
"Thinking green and looking at the sustainable aspects of our building design. Was really part of our plan right from the very beginning," says Mary Ockenden. She is the Vice-President of Space Planning for URMC.
The building is where many researchers convert medical knowledge into better health. The open design of the building helps them do that. And it also helps the environment.
Ockenden says, "pulling offices away from the perimeter, bringing daylight in and allowing people to interact and share those views really made for a better work environment."
18% of the building is made from recycled materials. 23% of the materials came from local sources. That cuts down on the amount of energy needed to put the building up.
There are also savings on the day to day operations. The University expects to save about 18% on it's energy bills.
"We have a daylight harvesting system that really takes into account the amount of daylight coming into the building and adjusts the lighting to that proportion."
The green improvements don't stop inside the building. In the parking lot there are special spots for fuel efficient vehicles and even the pavement is green.
"We've done a porous pavement parking lot. So that is more environmentally friendly way to create parking. We take the rainwater that comes in. Instead of sending it off to storm sewers it is percolating through the pavement and into a managed system that naturally lets it go back into the earth and filters it," adds Ockenden.
This is the first LEED certified building on the U of R campus. But it likely won't be the last. "It's now an intrical part of how we think and design. Definitely see us do a lot more of that," she says.