The Center for Communications and Information Technology (CCIT) at Frostburg State University designed by Ayers Saint Gross has just achieved LEED Gold certification. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is the United States Green Building Council’s premier green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED certified buildings have a positive impact on occupant health, use energy efficiently, and minimize negative environmental impacts from construction. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn credits to achieve different levels of certification.

The CCIT forges connections among dispersed academic departments and encourages the public to engage with its programs. The three-story building occupies a key juncture between the university’s performing arts center, science center and student union, responding to its site with an accessible and inviting design. The Center benefits from this centralized location and at least 10 basic services and public transportation are within a ½ mile walking radius. On-site bicycle storage spaces and changing facilities as well as preferred parking for low-emitting/fuel-efficient vehicles and carpools promote alternate modes of transportation.

Mediating a steep slope between the historic campus core and more contemporary lower campus, the CCIT is arranged around an outdoor courtyard to provide a gathering space and a threshold reached from existing pathways. The site design maximizes vegetated open space and manages stormwater quality while hardscape and roofing material selections minimize the heat island effect.

Additional LEED highlights include minimized potable water demands via low-flow fixtures throughout the project and native landscaping that requires no permanent irrigation system. The project employs energy-efficiency measures such as a high performance building envelope, reduced interior lighting power density, and a high efficiency condensing boiler to realize energy savings. Refrigerants were selected that minimize the potential for ozone depletion and global warming.

The contractor diverted most construction wastes from landfill to minimize construction’s environmental impacts. Specifications also favored products with recycled content and regional sourcing. Individualized controls for lighting and thermal comfort provide occupants the opportunity to adjust the indoor environment to their unique needs. Low-emitting materials were installed throughout to ensure good indoor air quality and outdoor air delivery is monitored.

The project’s exemplary minimization of potable water use and inclusion of a LEED Accredited Professional earned the project innovation points.

At a glance statistics about the project include:

  • Reduction in water use: 41%
  • Reduction in energy use: 28%
  • Construction waste diverted: 86%
  • Regional materials: 21%
  • Recycled content: 25%
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