U of L goes green and gold

Louisville, KY - By Matt McCutcheon - e-mail | bio

A downtown Louisville building less-than a year old is now earning national recognition.  The University of Louisville's new Clinical and Translational Research building (or CTR) is getting so much hype because of its new LEED (or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating.

The school colors may be red and white, but it now it adds green and gold to the mix.

"In the category of new construction, this is the largest gold research building in the nation," U of L President James Ramsey said to a group of people gathered at the Tuesday morning announcement.

The CTR building is so "green" that it's gold, according to LEED.  The building earned 41 LEED credits; only 39 are needed to make it to the gold level.  This is the largest newly-constructed research building in the nation to earn a gold rating, and the first research building in the state of Kentucky to earn the honor.

U of L's president explains what, in part, made it all possible.

"The use of energy saving natural light, a reflective roof keeps down heating costs and special controls affect the amount of sun entering the building," Ramsey said.

"The CTR earned materials and resources credits by sourcing more than 1/3 of the materials used in the building within 500 miles and by using 25% recycled materials," said Cliff Ashburner with the U. S. Green Building Council.

With the heat of summer upon us, air-conditioners will be constantly running.  The condensation that can accumulate from that collects and is used to water the lawn and landscaping.  Officials say in the month of June alone, that can easily add up to nearly 30,000 gallons of water.

The roof is also painted white – not black – to avoid the sun from "baking" the building.  Windows are also slightly tented according to the direction toward the sun they face so that they can avoid overexposure of the sun in the windows, while also using the sun to bring in more natural light and cut down on electricity usage.

"Kentucky has historically overused energy and can achieve its greatest reductions in greenhouse emissions through energy efficiencies in all sectors," said Kentucky Environment Cabinet Secretary Leonard Peters.

That's why there are programs in the state to encourage more environmental conservation efforts, like rebates if you buy a new energy-star washer.

Despite all of Tuesday's good news, U of L's presidents says research and fighting diseases – like cancer – is what will make the building legendary.

"These are important announcements but we should never forget that what is most important is the work that's taking place upstairs," Ramsey said.

Three other buildings on the U of L campus that are being renovated or built now are expected to also receive LEED ratings, and officials will learn their grade when construction wraps up.

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