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FSU’s Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology Earns LEED Gold Certification
09/16/2015

FSU’s Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology Earns LEED Gold Certification

Frostburg State University’s Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology has been awarded LEED® Gold certification, a program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

FSU’s Gira Center achieved LEED Gold certification by satisfying prerequisites and earning points in areas such as sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality to achieve different levels of certification. LEED-certified buildings have a positive impact on the health of occupants while promoting renewable, clean energy. FSU’s Lane University Center is also certified as LEED Gold. The Gira Center was designed and built by a team of companies led by Ayers Saint Gross and Gilbane Building Co.

“The Catherine R. Gira Center for Communications and Information Technology has transformed our campus. This state-of-the-art facility is the product of an extraordinary collaborative effort to create a building that enhances the hands-on educational opportunities for our students while minimizing its impact on the environment,” said FSU Interim President Thomas L. Bowling. “We are delighted to receive this LEED Gold certification as a result of these efforts.”

The Gira Center forges connections among diverse academic departments and encourages the public to engage with its programs. The three-story building occupies a key juncture among the Performing Arts Center, the Compton Science Center and Lane Center, responding to its site with an accessible and inviting design. The center also benefits from a well-connected campus environment that provides access to at least 10 basic services and public transportation.

Mediating a steep slope between the campus’ historic “uphill” core and the more contemporary “downhill” campus, the Gira Center is arranged around an outdoor courtyard to provide a gathering space and a threshold reached from existing pathways. The site design maximizes open space and manages storm water quality, while hardscape, green roof and other roofing material choices minimize the “heat island” effect.

The Gira Center employs energy-efficient measures such as a high-performance building envelope, reduced interior lighting power density and a high-efficiency condensing boiler to realize energy savings. Reduction in energy use was calculated at 28.6 percent. Refrigerants were selected that minimize the potential for ozone depletion and global warming.

The contractor diverted 86.4 percent of construction wastes from landfills to minimize construction’s environmental impacts. Specifications also favored products with recycled content and regional sourcing. Of the products used, 25.3 percent were recycled and 21.4 percent of the materials used were regional. Individualized controls for lighting and temperature allow occupants 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 building’s minimization of potable water use with low-flow fixtures and other measures and inclusion of a LEED-accredited professional earned the project innovation points. Reduction in water use was calculated to be 41.7 percent.

“The Gira Center’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair, USGBC. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the Gira Center serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”

The LEED rating system is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance. More than 100,000 projects participate in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 13.8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 150 countries.

For more information on the Gira Center’s LEED Gold certification, visit www.usgbc.org/projects/ctr-communication-info-technology?view=overview. For more information on Ayers Saint Gross, visit www.asg-architects.com.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity. Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.

- Candis Johnson

- Photography by Tom Holdsworth, Ayers Saint Gross

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589
E-mail: news@frostburg.edu