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Cathy Summa-Wolfe
, Director
Communications & Community Relations

COM IVC Main Building Earns LEED Gold

Water, Energy, Materials, Landscaping and Construction — All Contributed to Gold LEED Standard

Novato, CA—December 1, 2011—The innovative design of the new main building complex on the College of Marin Indian Valley Campus (IVC) has garnered the U.S. Green Building Council's top Gold certification, an award signifying environmentally sustainable achievement in both project design and construction.

"This is a great honor for the college and a testament to the success of the sustainable design practices that were used in construction," said David Wain Coon, Ed.D., COM Superintendent/President. "More importantly, it means that the college and taxpayers will reap significant energy saving benefits over time resulting in tremendous cost savings over the life of the new building."

In 2004, the College of Marin Board of Trustees pledged to an increased focus on environmental stewardship and sustainable facilities. Recognizing a need to contribute to a global reduction in greenhouse gases, they launched several key initiatives including renewable energy plans, geothermal heat exchange systems, new instructional programs and a focus on LEED standards in construction.

The IVC Main Building is one of several buildings on the college's two campuses that have earned Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold and Silver certifications from the Green Building Council. LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

"When you have a building that saves energy, saves water, provides a healthy environment and minimizes the impact on campus – this is everybody's win," said Idalia F. Larsen of VBN Architects in Oakland. VBN served as LEED consultant and architect on the project. "This was the priority when we began."

Located on a former parking lot at the Novato campus entrance, the two-story Main Building Complex is bright with natural lighting and comfortable with efficient heating and circulation systems supported by a geothermal field. Using less water is an important aspect of the project, as was the preservation of natural habitat and sustainable landscaping. The 32,264 square foot complex houses workforce development programs in medical and dental assisting, court reporting and computer technology, as well as a new library, media resources center and Internet café.

"This is a beautiful campus and we were able to build in an area that was already developed, take out some of the paving and restore the habitat," Larsen said.

The project started five years ago and opened in December 2010.

"Buildings are a prime example of how human systems integrate with natural systems," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the Green Building Council. "The IVC Main Building Complex project efficiently uses our natural resources and makes an immediate, positive impact on our planet, which will tremendously benefit future generations to come."

The College of Marin Main Building Complex achieved LEED Gold certification for its focus on a broad range of sustainable strategies, including:

Site Selection

  • Constructed on a former parking lot, the building made use of land that was already impacted by development and preserved surrounding open space and made use of storm water runoff to support the landscape.

Water Efficiency

  • The complex is build with water-efficient sinks and toilets and drought-resistant landscaping that reduces potable water usage by more than 52 percent annually.

Energy and Atmosphere

  • Bicycle parking and a nearby shower & changing room support low carbon commuting as well as dedicated spaces for fuel-efficient and carpool vehicles.
  • A reflective "cool roof" reduces temperatures in the surrounding area.
  • Energy-efficient heating, cooling, lighting and insulation translates to energy cost reductions of more than 21 percent and prevents more than 40 tons of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere each year.
  • A commissioning agent reviewed the building design, equipment and heating and cooling systems. A trained building staff will maintain the systems for maximum efficiency.
  • Geothermal pumps provide all heating and cooling via underground wells that use the constant temperature of the earth to keep water-filled pipes between 58 and 62 degrees. An energy-efficient geo-exchange system circulates water, helping to naturally heat or cool the building.

Materials and Resources

  • By implementing a rigorous job site debris recycling plan, the College prevented more than 5,200 tons of material from being disposed of in the landfill. Nearly 100 percent of construction debris was reused, recycled and diverted from landfill.
  • Sustainably harvested wood was used.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • The carpeting, cabinetry, paints and sealants used contain few or no contaminants and fumes. Abundant daylight combined with efficient lighting and advanced controls provide a healthy, comfortable ambiance.

The building represents the new era at College of Marin Indian Valley Campus.

"This has been a true transformation," said Nanda Schorske, Dean of Workforce Development & College-Community Partnerships. "One of the reasons IVC has more than doubled in enrollment since 2006 is because we have achieved an identity on the campus around sustainability and the instructional programs from the Organic Farm & Garden to our Electric Vehicle Conversion program and Solar Installation/Integration Technology training,"  Schorske said. "These are all examples of what IVC has come to stand for and it really meets the needs and expectations of the community."

Next semester, IVC students will have expanded library resources and, the return of food service, which has been one of their top requests. They have been subsisting on vending machines during the construction period.

"The innovation sets a good example for our students," said Laura McCarty, director of modernization. "It ties back to our mission here of learning."

Designing and building the green building was a collaborative effort involving:

Other recent LEED certified buildings at College of Marin include the renovation of the Physical Education Center and pool (Gold), and the Transportation Technology Complex (Gold).

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