LCU Rates LEEDS Platinum Award for Welcome Center

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Lubbock Christian University, in a formal announcement and ceremony here Tuesday, that the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has awarded the Cardwell Welcome Center with a platinum rating, the highest the council grants.

For the last 52 years, the F.W. Mattox Administration Building has been the front building at the entry point of the university.  The new Cardwell Welcome Center has changed the "face" of the university as viewed from 19th Street and Tueday’s ceremony recognized the facility with one of the highest certifications that is attainable from the U.S. Green Building Council.

"Getting any sort of good rating through LEEDS is a difficult task," said Mr. Alex Scarborough, a member of the Alliance for a Sustainable Lubbock committee, who made the presentation to LCU.  "The sheer amount of paperwork is daunting. It takes diligence and a tremendous amount of effort.  This is a significant thing for LCU."

The Alliance for a Sustainable Lubbock is a network of ordinary people from different sectors of the community, who work together on an informal basis to improve the way of life in Lubbock and the High South Plains.  They are as concerned about personal well being and enrichment of community life as they are about water conservation, harmony with nature, and elimination of waste and energy efficiency.  The Alliance promotes constructive change by celebrating local achievements and providing networking events and services to its participants. Last spring the Alliance sponsored a Culinary Festival on Earth Day.  Seventy-five people gathered at the Alumni Center on the Tech campus to dine on locally produced wine, meat and produce while honoring local achievements in sustainability.  Larry Sullivan, who grew up in West Texas and now teaches Landscape Architecture at Texas Tech, is the director of events and networking operations.

The beautifully designed building complex has a 65-foot, all glass rotunda at its center, from which four wings extend East and West. The copper tiled rotunda towers several feet above the height of the four wings, and has the capacity to hold approximately 200 people for various events related to the university. Each wing contains a variety of office spaces, conference rooms, and flexible, general use open areas. The departments occupying the new facility are Admissions, University Advancement, Public Relations, Alumni Relations, and Marketing/Communications. The center is named for successful El Paso businessman Jack Cardwell and his wife Evonne, who gave the lead gift for the building. The Cardwells have been long-time supporters of LCU having influenced and contributed to numerous buildings and initiatives around campus, as well as establishing endowments.

The Cardwell Welcome Center has many green initiatives incorporated and today’s Platinum Certification is truly an honor in which the university can take pride.  There are currently 260 new construction projects in Texas that are registered with LEEDs and only 11 of them have a Platinum Certification.

LCU has been and continues to be an area trendsetter in using ecologically responsible, sustainable measures to conserve energy and reduce the amount of waste and carbon emissions produced by the institution.

In the Cardwell Welcome Center effective use of insulation in the walls, roof, and under the concrete slab floor minimizes heat loss or gain, thereby conserving energy, reducing costs by about one-third of what would be typical for a building this size.  Heating and cooling are accomplished by the use of ground source heat pumps.  In this operation, the earth and the newly enlarged playa lake on campus property will serve as a heat sink to supply heat in the winter and absorb heat in the summer.  The heat transfer requires electricity for operation of the heat pumps, but no natural gas is consumed to create heat.  Energy requirements for heating and cooling the all-glass rotunda are also minimized by use of double-pane glass containing argon and a transparent reflective film between the two panes.  These windows are three times more efficient than typical commercial glass.

The parking area pavement around the building is light in color in order to reflect the sun’s heat, rather than absorb it.  Shade trees have been planted around the perimeter, irrigated by captured rainwater from the building roof, supplemented with non-potable well water.

As a part of the university green initiative, the playa lake at the southwest corner of the LCU campus has been enlarged.  This will primarily serve as a heat sink for the heating and cooling of several campus buildings, but it is also designed to contain campus storm water runoff.  The slope of the campus is generally downward from the north to the south, which directs storm water into the playa for later reuse in landscape irrigation.

To preserve high quality indoor air inside the building, polished concrete floors were used, which eliminate carpet and any possible air contamination resulting from its use.

Freon has been previously denounced as a destructor of the ozone layer at high atmospheric elevations so each of the heat pumps for the HVAC system uses the newly approved refrigerant R 410A, as opposed to Freon.

During the construction of the building, about 85 percent of the construction waste was recycled, rather than depositing it into a landfill.  This included cardboard, concrete rubble, paper, plastic, metal, wood, land clearing debris, and brick.  The plastics and metals were taken to local recycling plants, but some of the other materials were reused right on campus.  Land clearing debris was converted to mulch and used for campus landscaping, while wood and bricks were cleaned and used in other campus projects, with some wood even given to employees for use in home projects.  Concrete rubble was crushed and used as road fill on campus or given to another concrete company for use as aggregate in new concrete.

MWM Architects, Inc. of Lubbock was the architectural firm who partnered with LCU on this innovative, green project.

Lubbock Christian University has over 2000 students and is a private four-year comprehensive institution that promotes unique educational opportunities with a strategic focus on student success in four key areas: spiritual formation, intellectual growth, personal stewardship and leadership development.  Degree programs are offered for both bachelor’s degrees and master’s degrees.   For over 55 years, the school has offered academic excellence in a Christian environment.  For more information about Lubbock Christian University visit their website at www.lcu.edu.

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