State Gym achieves platinum LEED certification

Photos of State Gym: Adam Ring/Iowa State Daily

Tedi Mathis

State Gym officially earned the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification at a platinum level, making it the fifth building on campus to become LEED certified.

State Gym became one of four recreation facilities in the country to become LEED certified. Of these four, it is one of two university recreation facilities in the nation to become LEED certified.

To achieve the platinum certification, which is the highest LEED recognizes, the renovations had to focus on the reuse of current and energy saving materials.

“80 to 90 percent of the [original] State Gym structure was reused; we even reused the old wood floor of the gym,” said Robert Holzwarth, a project manager for facilities planning and management at ISU.

Holzwarth said the LEED certification is more than just an award: It shows the university’s true values.

“It shows the university’s commitment to sustainable design,”  Holzwarth said.

The renovation of State Gym also saved money by working toward LEED certification.

“The mere fact that we were able to reuse a lot of wood from the State Gym saved money,” said Michael Giles, director of Recreation Services. “In the long term, we will operate in a more efficient manner.”

Many materials used during the construction were local.

“We also used a lot of recycled materials and regional materials,” Holzwarth said.

Becoming LEED certified takes a lot of planning and a long application process. After an application is submitted, both the renovation designs and the construction had to be reviewed.

“The process can take several years,” Holzwarth said. “But we kind of knew halfway into the project where we stood, we knew we were close between platinum and gold.”

Judgment is determined through points allotted in five categories, including the sustainability of the sight, the water efficiency, building energy performance, sustainability of the building materials and indoor environmental quality.

Holzwarth said that of the 63 points possible, only 26 to 32 points were needed to become LEED certified, but the new State Gymnasium earned 53, which is what put the project at the platinum level. Among these were five bonus points for innovation in design.

The university plans to continue working for LEED certification in future projects. Holzwarth said that among the current projects up for LEED certification in the future are Troxel Hall, the new football training facility and the Veterinary Medicine small animal hospital.

“Sustainability has a positive impact on the university and college environment,” Giles said.