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University’s new football facilities earn silver rating for environmental measures

by Karen A. Grava - September 17, 2007

The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center have been named the first LEED-certified building at the University and the first athletic complex in the nation to earn the “green building” status.

The designation was granted by the U.S. Green Building Council, which noted that the complex meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for green buildings.

The project was granted a “silver” designation.

The U.S. Green Building Council is a Washington, D.C.-based coalition of building industry leaders.

The two facilities, which opened in summer 2006, encompass 165,000 square feet.

The Burton Family Football Complex is the on-campus home for the UConn football program and includes an academic resources center, sports medicine area, coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, locker rooms, and video editing and production areas.

The Mark R. Shenkman Training Center is used by the football team, other varsity sports, and the University’s recreational program.

The nine-story facility features a 120-yard, multipurpose synthetic turf field, and an 18,000-square-foot, state-of-the art strength and conditioning area.

“There are unique challenges in constructing an athletic facility to meet LEED standards,” says Rich Miller, director of environmental policy.

“The Mark R. Shenkman Training Center is a large structure, with considerable open space, and there can be problems making such facilities energy-efficient, with their heating and cooling needs. These challenges inspired some creative ideas from our design professionals.”

One of those features is infrared heating units that can keep players on the field comfortable, but are more energy-efficient than heating the entire structure to a uniform temperature.

“The Burton Family Football Complex and Mark R. Shenkman Training Center are among the nation’s finest athletic facilities,” says Jeffrey Hathaway, director of athletics.

“These facilities have certainly placed our football program in an outstanding position to be successful both academically and athletically. We’re proud to be a leader, as our University strives to meet environmentally-sustainable goals.”

LEED-certification is a process certifying that a building project meets a wide range of environmentally friendly criteria.

The Green Building Council has four designations: certified, silver, gold, and platinum, each based on a point system.

Miller says there are more than three dozen components in the construction of the Burton Family Football Complex and the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center that promote environmental sustainability, from site selection to building design, selection of materials, energy and water conservation, and indoor environmental quality.

He says the University also earned points for creativity by using 7,000 cubic feet of peat excavated from the site to help restore and create wetlands affected by the cleanup and construction activity at the former UConn landfill site on the north side of campus.

The Burton Family Football Complex and the Mark R. Shenkman Training Center are the first buildings at UConn to be registered for LEED certification since the Green Building Council’s standards were adopted in 2000.

However, architects and designers involved in every building project at Storrs, whether new construction or renovations, are required to follow UConn’s environmentally responsible, sustainable design guidelines.

Energy efficiency, water conservation, conserving materials and resources, improving indoor environmental quality, and land management are among the areas that must be considered when planning a project.

Earlier this year, the University adopted a policy that sets the LEED-silver rating level as a minimum performance standard for all larger construction and renovation projects.

Besides enhancing the environment, Miller says, following the Green Building Council guidelines eventually will save money, through reduced operational, maintenance, repair, and replacement costs.

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