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Struggle for the LEED

When the Koch Center opened in 2007, the Deerfield community took pride in this beautiful facility.

It boasted a café, a planetar­ium, state-of-the-art classrooms, and a shiny gold plaque directly ahead of the front doors.

In the three years since its dedication, the Koch Center has undergone a few minimal chang­es-the doors are easier to open, the quartz that lined the walkway is gone-but one change some may not have noticed is the dis­appearance of the gold plaque in which many Deerfield commu­nity members took great pride.

That plaque, reading “United States Green Building Council LEED Gold,” certified that the Koch Center was one of the most innovative and environ­mentally-friendly buildings in the country.

In order to achieve certifica­tion, according to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) web­site, buildings are surveyed and awarded points for five different categories: sustainable sites, wa­ter efficiency, energy and atmo­sphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental qual­ity.

Within these five areas (and two bonus categories of innova­tion in design and regional prior­ity), the points are tallied up to 100 total (plus 10 for the bonus). The number of points received determines the building’s level of certification.

The Koch Center received a Gold level LEED certification upon its completion for earning between 60 and 80 points.

So why does this plaque no longer hang in the Koch Center?

The answer to this seemingly simple question has proved dif­ficult to obtain. In fact, none of the five faculty members asked about the loss of the LEED plaque seemed to know anything about it.

Chief Financial Officer Jo­seph Manory declined to speak about the issue.

Whether or not the Koch Center will be getting its plaque back remains to be seen. Based on faculty speculation, this seems to be a possibility.

Whether or not the contro­versy over the LEED certifica­tion has something to do with the four-year lawsuit with the architects of the Koch Center, Skidmore, Owens, and Merrill, is still unknown; the lawsuit was settled in 2009.

The USGBC has declared that decertification is a possibil­ity if the building in question fails to adhere to the five main principles. The council states that the project “must be a complete, permanent building, utilize a rea­sonable site boundary, comply with environmental laws, comply with minimum occupancy rates, and share energy and water usage data with the council.”

It seems that the lack of the LEED plaque in the Koch Cen­ter will remain a mystery until further notice.

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