MSU construction standards go green
April 30, 2010
For the first time, and with greener thinking in mind, the MSU Physical Plant* collaborated with faculty to evaluate its construction standards.
The evaluation revealed that the original building standards for construction could earn 18 to 19 points toward Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.
LEED certification is awarded to buildings that are registered with the United States Green Building Council (USGBC). Structures can receive points for green practices in design and construction. There are four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold and platinum. Each level of certification is based on the amount of points the structure receives.
Realizing improvement potential, the construction standards were changed to increase the earnable points to 26 toward the certification, which would achieve at least the lowest LEED certification. The changes ensure buildings are built with energy-efficient materials and that waste materials are recycled.
"University buildings have always been built to be long-lasting, but now we have changed our standards to accomplish that while minimizing the impact on the environment," said Bob Nestle, university engineer with the Physical Plant.
Complementing the standard updates, the MSU Physical Plant has a newly developed in-house commissioning department (see page 9) that takes on the task of assuring that the building’s energy-consuming systems work as designed. The department evaluates how a building can run efficiently, also examining energy components.
"The updates to the standards, such as commissioning, use of low-emitting building materials, and recycling will make campus buildings greener while maintaining our standards for high-quality buildings," said Nestle. The changes to the construction standards reduce life-cycle costs for the University along with taking advantage of the environmental resources available.
Green Issue 2010
*Prior to the creation of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities in January 2013, several IPF departments were a part of the now-dissolved MSU Physical Plant. Some historical articles on this website reference that former unit.