Smith Center Awarded LEED Gold Certification

April 12, 2012

exterior of the Charles E. Smith Center

GW’s Charles E. Smith Center recently joined the ranks of several other campus buildings—South Hall, Lafayette Hall and West Hall—that have received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.

Upgrades to the building, which were completed in 2011, included a refurbished arena, renovated locker rooms and training and sports medicine facilities, an on-site academic center, and new box office, refreshment areas and the Colonials Club. The transformation was designed by architectural firm Gensler with construction management by Whiting-Turner Contracting Company.

“It takes a village to successfully complete a project the size and complexity of this transformation, and many thanks are due to the design and construction teams for leading us through this multiyear effort,” said Senior Associate Vice President for Operations Alicia Knight. “As a team, we really have created a dynamic new space for the GW community, and importantly, one that includes numerous sustainable features.”

The LEED Gold certification was achieved through incorporation of many sustainable features. These include optimizing energy performance through highly insulated exterior wall systems, energy-efficient windows and an Energy Star white roof. As a result, energy performance will exceed the standard for commercial buildings.

The building transformation also included use of low-flow plumbing fixtures and plant materials that are native or adaptive and require no permanent irrigation (reducing water usage by more than 40 percent over the baseline standard for commercial buildings).

In addition, more than 90 percent of waste was recycled or salvaged during demolition and construction, diverting it from landfills or incineration facilities. The transformation also included use of paints, adhesives, coatings, sealants and carpets that meet the Green Seal Standards or Green Label Plus requirements for low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that reduce the quantity of indoor air contaminants.

The university’s commitment to sustainability in construction includes targeting a minimum LEED Silver for all new buildings. GW currently has several projects in development that are targeting LEED certification at the Gold level, including the law clinic townhouses, Ames Hall, the Science and Engineering Hall and the new School of Public Health and Health Services building. The Law Learning Center Garage, the GW Museum and the Conservation and Academic Incubation facility on the Virginia Science and Technology Campus are all targeting LEED Silver certification. In addition, upcoming renovations of the fifth and sixth floors of Ross Hall are targeted to achieve certification under the LEED Commercial Interiors program.

The Smith Center, a signature building located in the heart of GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus, is the home of GW athletics. It was named after the late Charles E. Smith, a nationally renowned real estate developer and GW honorary degree recipient and trustee who provided the initial leadership gift to build the facility in 1975. The center has hosted dignitaries such as President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, as well as GW’s Freshman Convocation, individual school Commencement celebrations and popular entertainers. Recently, the Smith Center hosted the Clinton Global Initiative University.