Monroe Hall recognized for sustainability

One year after its reopening following infrastructural renovations, the college’s Monroe Hall received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification in accordance with the United States Green Building Council.

LEED provides third-party verification of environmentally-friendly buildings. Those who apply can earn points based on the energy-efficient measures taken in order to make the building more “green” in the construction process.

All newly-built state-owned buildings are mandated by Executive Order 111 to substantiate at least a LEED Silver certification. The scale consists of 110 points, and a minimum of 60 points must be earned in order to receive the Gold certification.

Geneseo submitted for certification through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York and Mach Architecture, the firm that designed Monroe Hall.

According to Assistant Vice President for Facilities and Planning George Stooks, Mach Architecture worked hand in hand with Geneseo in keeping up with the highest standard.

“It was a joint effort – a partnership. They take great pride in achieving this, just as we do,” Stooks said. “The design firm has to go through a step-by-step process and assess the credits we’re applying for. It’s part of their responsibility to make sure that we are legitimately submitting credits that will stand up to the USGBC’s criteria.”

Some efficiency initiatives that gain points include the reuse of existing materials for walls and doors, the use of recycled products in flooring and ceilings and the use of a greywater recycling system, which uses rain water from the roof in the building’s toilets.

Points toward the Gold certification can also be earned by the reuse of materials on site, the use of construction material from local sources, from within 500 miles, and renewable energy to power at least half of the building for the first two years.

Stooks added that an important renovation to Monroe is the bottle refilling station that has prevented over 40,000 bottles from going to a landfill. There is a counter at the station that keeps track of how many bottles are filled.

No other buildings on campus are officially USGBC certified, but other newly renovated buildings such as Doty Hall, Bailey Hall and Letchworth Dining Hall are built to LEED Silver standards. Monroe may serve as an educational tool and a reference point for comparison to other buildings on campus.

“We have an energy dashboard in the building that helps measure the building’s usage compared to standard buildings,” Stooks said.

“Geneseo students who are interested in environmental issues will find a keen interest in the building,” he added. “It will be immediately adjacent to the e-Garden, which will begin construction this summer. They can not only learn, but they can practice what they’re learning.”