Proposal for LEED Silver Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Certification of the Memorial Union, with focus on Energy Efficiency & the PowerParasol Project, Zero Waste by 2015, Water Efficiency, and Alternative Transportation Methods
As the student union on Arizona State University’s main Tempe campus, the MU should be a model of building sustainability. After a fire engulfed the MU’s second floor in 2007, the building underwent major renovations and achieved LEED v2.0: Commercial Interiors (LEED CI) Gold certification. Since then, more up-to-date building certification programs have been established, including the Green Globes (GG) green building rating system and a more recent version of LEED that suits the MU’s situation—Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB:OM). This paper performs a cost-benefit analysis of these rating systems, specifically looking at 1) national recognition, 2) ease of use, 3) amount of resources needed to invest, 4) length of time of the certification process, 5) certification fees and costs, 6) pre-requisites and system structure of point allotment, and 7) flexibility of the systems. A review of the previous LEED CI certification of the MU addresses 1) solar panel installation and renewable energy achievements, 2) improvement of indoor air quality, 3) application of sustainable construction practices, 4) missed opportunities since renovations were not performed on the entire building, 5) water efficiency scoring, and 6) lack of significant Energy & Atmosphere improvements. A proposal for the university to consider LEED EB:OM certification for the Memorial Union will be presented, analyzing the points already secured by campus-wide programs and policies, credits that are possible with minimal funding, and elaborating on opportunities already planned for completion, including 1) the Power Parasol project, 2) “Zero Waste by 2015” and “Carbon Neutrality” programs and goals, and 3) plans for alternative transportation methods through the Tempe Campus Access Management Plan. In conclusion, my recommendation to pursue LEED EB:OM and achieve Silver level will be presented. With the majority of LEED points already secured and several on the horizon, certifying the MU under LEED EB:OM will set an example and increase the amount of existing buildings on campus to pursue LEED certification. University-wide policies on green cleaning, sustainable purchasing, alternative energy sources, carbon neutrality, and LEED for Multiple Buildings all contribute to simplifying the LEED certification process for ASU buildings campus-wide.