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Duke Adds Two New LEED Certifications

Chilled Water Plant #2 and Cancer Center are recognized

Highlights of the Cancer Center's LEED certification include lots of natural lighting and open, green spaces. Photo courtesy of Duke Medicine.
Highlights of the Cancer Center's LEED certification include lots of natural lighting and open, green spaces. Photo courtesy of Duke Medicine.

Two new Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certifications bring Duke's number of sustainable-minded buildings to 26.

The Duke Cancer Center and Chilled Water Plant #2 have been awarded with gold-level certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for "green" building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings feature four levels, from "certified" to "platinum," the highest rating.

"Seventy percent of Duke's greenhouse gas emissions come from energy use on campus, so it's important that our buildings are as energy-efficient as possible," said Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke. "LEED certified buildings are an important strategy for Duke to become carbon neutral by 2024."

The state-of-the-art Cancer Center opened for patients in February. The $235 million building has a number of sustainable aspects that impact energy use and transportation options. Along with bike racks and showers for bicycle commuters, the Cancer Center also features a rooftop garden, large windows to allow for natural lighting and occupancy sensors throughout rooms and offices that automatically turn lights off when not in use.

During construction, a large cistern was also placed under a green space between the Cancer Center, School of Nursing and Duke Clinic. It can collect up to 80,000 gallons of rain water to be used to irrigate plants and trees.

"From a clinical standpoint, we wanted to make the design to be as welcoming of an environment as possible," said Shawn Subasic, director for the Medical Center's facility planning, design and construction office. "All the natural lighting of the building and garden areas were a deliberate, holistic approach to achieving LEED certification and creating amenities to benefit patients."

Doris B. Jordan
This chiller at Chilled Water Plant #2 uses some rain water to help control temperature and humidity in Duke buildings. Photo by Bryan Roth.

Chilled Water Plant #2 also received a gold certification for sustainable aspects.

Darin Smith, Duke's utilities operations and maintenance manager, noted that Facilities Management paid close attention to LEED specifications while constructing a new office space and control room to be included as part of the plant.

In addition to earning LEED points for being near Duke and local bus lines, the Chiller Plant also features a mulch trail that leads from the building to bus stops along LaSalle Street.

Smith said lots of natural lighting is a pleasant piece of the building's sustainable efforts. The plant also is able to capture water condensate on the roof and store it for for the building's cooling towers.

"Those two things are important parts of the construction process we try to include in many other projects across campus," Smith said. "We always try to save water where we can, and it's just a better work atmosphere when you have natural lighting."

A full list of Duke's LEED buildings can be found online.