East Academic Building Certified as Gold

This is the first building at Webster University to earn a LEED certification, a USGBC standard for sustainability.

The East Academic BuildingST. LOUIS - Webster University's East Academic Building (EAB) was certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) level gold this week, the second highest level for the sustainability certification. This is the first Webster University building to receive a LEED certification and one of only 31 buildings to receive a gold level in the St. Louis region.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. The program was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Certificate levels are no-color, silver, gold and platinum.

“This is a significant advancement for Webster's efforts to become more sustainable,” said Julian Schuster, the provost, senior vice president and chief operating officer for Webster. “While we have a number of robust programs on campus to make us more environmentally friendly, this one required outside experts to review all of our data and make a determination if we were practicing what we preach. We initially applied for a silver certification, but the reviewers felt that we had exceeded those standards and gave us gold.”

The LEED system is designed to promote a "whole-building approach to sustainability" through five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED-certified projects usually cost less to operate and maintain than conventional buildings largely because they are energy- and water- efficient. On average, they save 30 percent on energy and up to 50 percent on drinkable water compared to conventional buildings.

Among the many features highlighted in the USGBC report on the EAB were the use of natural light in the building, its close proximity to public transportation and other services, the bicycle lockers and changing rooms for bicycle riders, and the 35 percent reduction in overall energy usage in the entire structure.

The $29 million, 94,323-square-foot EAB houses the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology as well as other programs and services. With 31 classrooms, 10 large computer labs, 48 offices, and two large lobbies, the new building features the most up-to-date instruction design and technology. It opened in March, 2012.

The LEED-certified EAB is just the latest in sustainability efforts by Webster University. Last year, the University installed solar-powered trash cans that compacts recyclables for easier storage and shipping. The University also entered into an agreement with Metrobus and Metrollink so that students, faculty and staff can ride city buses and the subways for free. Passes for those systems are available to anyone with a Webster University identification card at the Bursar's office. More recently, the lights in Grant Gymnasium were replaced with LED lights. LED lights use a fraction of the energy of normal light bulbs, but produced significantly more light.