The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU gets LEED gold for environmental Embrey Building

From the outside, the J. Lindsey Embrey Engineering Building appears the same as other buildings on the SMU campus. The familiar red brick and columned façade indicate nothing out of the ordinary for most students. However, the engineering students on campus know better.

In September 2006 the Embrey building made SMU one of the first universities in Texas to receive a gold Leadership in Energy and Environment Design certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for constructing an environmentally friendly structure both indoors and out. Dean of the School of Engineering, Geoffrey C. Orsak, pushed for the construction of a building that would improve the learning experience here at SMU.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a non-profit organization that challenges the building industry by helping to improve water and energy efficiency, indoor air quality and use of locally manufactured construction materials.

Once a building registers for LEED, construction is monitored by a checklist and points are assigned for different categories. In the end, the number of points determines the certification level of the building. In Embrey’s case, 43 points earned the building the second-highest certification of gold.

The building benefits the environment and the students on campus. Mike Paul, director of engineering and energy management in campus planning and plant operations, says Embrey provides a safer environment for learning. The building differs from older buildings by taking a proactive approach to improving indoor air quality and “that’s a lot better way of doing it,” says Paul.

Other buildings on the SMU campus have carbon dioxide monitors, but Embrey went a step further and installed eight more monitors to ensure excellent ventilation. Paul says “we’re building more responsibly” by ensuring students have the safest classroom environments.

SMU earned the maximum five points in the water efficiency category by using efficient water landscaping techniques and incorporating innovative strategies like using waterless urinals, which saves approximately 240,000 gallons of water per year. During construction, SMU extracted over 30 percent of building materials for Embrey within 500 miles, which reduces the environmental impact caused by transportation.

Associate Dean of Engineering Tammy Richards said SMU has a responsibility to students and that includes giving them hands-on experience.

Richards says the engineering students receive a “wonderful opportunity to see their profession at work” in the construction of the gold-certified Embrey building. The innovative design encourages students to build for the future and reduce environmental harm.

Richards also sees Embrey as a point of pride across campus. SMU took initiative to register with LEED, which gives students a real example of moving forward with the times and technology.

SMU students can expect more LEED buildings on campus in the future. The new Caruth building has registered with LEED and aims for gold certification. The new education building does not even have a name yet but will also strive to achieve gold certification.

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