Milken Institute School of Public Health Earns LEED Platinum Rating

GW is the first university in D.C. to receive the premier certification for green building.

July 8, 2014

Milken Institute School of Public Health

By Brittney Dunkins

A little more than a month after the celebratory grand opening of the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, the green building hit another milestone, earning a Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)—the highest certification under the Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design (LEED) rating system.

The 115,000-square-foot building is the first university project in D.C. to receive the top LEED rating for innovative sustainable design.

“Achieving LEED Platinum status demonstrates our commitment to building a high-performance green building, one that promotes a healthier workplace and a more sustainable environment,” said Lynn R. Goldman, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of Public Health at the Milken Institute SPH. “We are proud to provide a center for learning and research to the on-campus community that will have such a positive impact.”

Boston-based Payette Architects designed the $75 million facility in collaboration with local firm Ayers Saint Gross. Other organizations involved in the project include Affiliated Engineers Inc., Wiles Mensch Corporation, Paladino and Company Inc., and Whiting-Turner.

The building is one of only 1,102 nationwide to receive the honor. The achievement also marks the university’s ninth LEED-certified project and the first LEED Platinum rating earned by GW.

“This certification is an indicator of our continued progress as a university in developing sustainable projects for the well-being of the campus community,” Director of Facilities Planning and Design Review Nancy Giammatteo said.

LEED Platinum certification is awarded by the USGBC based on a credit-rating system that measures a facility in a number of categories, including sustainable sites, indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and innovation in design.

“This certification is an indicator of our continued progress as a university in developing sustainable projects for the well-being of the campus community.”

-Director of Facilities Planning and Design Review Nancy Giammatteo

Developed with sustainability and the health of the community in mind, the nine-story building—seven floors above ground and two below—boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that infuse it with natural light while also conserving energy.

In addition to saving energy through efficient lighting controls in offices and conference rooms, the building is kept cool by a green roof and an HVAC system with chilled beams and mass air displacement technologies.

The state-of-the-art facility also uses local recycled or rapidly renewable building materials such as bamboo paneling and lockers.

The building is expected to reduce water use by 40 percent more than the baseline standard for commercial buildings through low-flow plumbing, a rainwater collection system and other features. A green roof will also reduce stormwater runoff and the native and adaptive plants used in the landscaping will require little or no water after they are established.

Faculty, staff and students are encouraged to stay active while taking advantage of the modern facility, which includes desks that can be easily converted into standing workstations, a centralized staircase, yoga and meditation rooms, and bike racks inside and outside the building.

“This facility has already reached a number of milestones, including being the first building in the Milken Institute SPH’s history to house all seven academic departments,” Dr. Goldman said. “We look forward to watching members of the university community make use of its state-of–the-art features as they engage in research, teaching and learning.”