OSU’s Kelley Engineering Center Certified LEED® Gold

Story Posted: 9/14/2006

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PORTLAND, Ore. " The Kelley Engineering Center, located at Oregon State University’s Corvallis, Ore. campus, has been awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first new LEED® Gold academic engineering building in the country.

Yost Grube Hall Architecture (YGH), a Portland-based firm that specializes in environmentally sustainable architectural, interior design and planning for higher education, government, corporate and healthcare clients, designed the 153,000 square-foot structure, which opened last fall and has become a hive of collaborative research and learning at the heart of the OSU campus.

The four-story Kelley Engineering Center, funded in part by a $20-million gift from OSU engineering alumnus Martin Kelly and his wife Judy and $20 million in public funds authorized by the Oregon legislature, provides state-of-the-art research laboratories, classrooms and office space to more than 150 faculty members and 300 graduate students in the OSU School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.

“This building is the stunning result of the tremendous generosity by Martin and Judy Kelley and the people of Oregon,” said Ron Adams, dean of engineering at OSU. “Part of the reason our engineering research expenditures increased $3.5 million last year to a record $27 million and we conferred a record 760 engineering degrees has to do with this building and the men and women who work, teach and learn within its walls.”

The YGH team, which worked with general contractor Skanska USA Building, Inc., designed the building to jumpstart OSU’s bid to become one of the top engineering schools in the nation. Since its opening, the Kelley Engineering Center has served as a recruiting tool, attracting top engineering students and professors. Designed to foster collaboration and communication, the building is home to many high-profile research projects, including a private start-up software firm that is housed within the building where OSU faculty and students collaborate directly with the company’s executives.

The transparent and welcoming design of the Kelley Engineering Center minimizes its environmental footprint and achieves a comfortable academic teaching and research environment that communicates sustainability while enhancing collaboration. The building’s centerpiece is a soaring central atrium, which acts as a social gathering space that spawns interaction and collaboration, as well as a mechanism for natural lighting and ventilation. Spanning the atrium, the roof diffuses and softens southern light, while the building’s exterior design embodies a modern response to the existing Olmsted-planned campus.

To keep within the scope of sustainable design, materials were selected after careful scrutiny as to how they affect indoor air quality:

Rainwater is captured for reuse in toilets and urinals within the building, reducing water use by an estimated 372,000 gallons per year. Living wages were paid to construction workers and the use of native plants reduce the burden on landscape maintenance staff and laborers. In addition to the use of photovoltaic and solar water panels to offset electricity consumption, a portion of the building’s electricity is purchased from renewable wind, solar and biomass sources.

The Kelley Engineering Center’s design also encourages alternative forms of transportation; bicycle parking and showers are provided and no new automobile spaces were constructed for the project. Pedestrian walk-ways that existed on-site beforehand were incorporated in the building’s design to promote campus walkability.

In the short time that the Kelley Engineering Center has been open, it has received a number of other awards including:

About the LEED Green Building Rating System
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Green Building Rating System® is a voluntary consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED was created to: define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement; recognize environmental leadership in the building industry; stimulate green competition; and raise consumer awareness of green building benefits.

About the OSU College of Engineering
With the nation’s 22nd-highest undergraduate enrollment, the OSU College of Engineering is the largest engineering program in Oregon. In the past six years, the College has more than doubled its research expenditures to $27.5 million by emphasizing highly collaborative research that solves global problems, spins out new companies, creates jobs, and produces opportunity for students through hands-on learning.

About Yost Grube Hall Architecture

Founded in 1964, Yost Grube Hall provides planning, architecture and interiors consulting services and is nationally recognized for its design of facilities in higher-education, corporate, healthcare, urban housing and civic venues. Yost Grube Hall’s North Mall Office Building in Salem, OR was also recently awarded LEED® Gold certification. The 55-person firm with 23 LEED® Accredited Professionals is headquartered in Portland, Ore., and produces work throughout the Pacific Northwest, Northern California, Asia and Africa.

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