RAPID CITY, S.D. (July 24, 2012) – Renovations of the Palmerton/Connolly residence hall on the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology campus have brought the building up to LEED Gold certification standards.
It is the third campus building to attain LEED Gold status, as monitored by the U.S. Green Building Council. The other buildings are new construction projects – the Chemical and Biological Engineering/Chemistry Building opened in 2011 and the Paleontology Research Laboratory opened in 2010.
During the spring semester the School of Mines was named among the most environmentally-friendly institutions in “The Princeton Review’s Guide to 322 Green Colleges: 2012 Edition.” LEED certification assures that a building has been designed with human- and environmental-health concerns in mind, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
“SDSM&T and the State of South Dakota have made it a priority to participate in the LEED program. There are many benefits from achieving the certification. The university prides itself on our legacy of excellence, so to secure the highest LEED certification is only natural,” said Tim Henderson, vice president for finance and administration.
The student resident capacity for Palmerton/Connolly is 360. The buildings were built as separate residence halls in the 1940s and 1960s and were connected by a commons area in 2010.
Chuck Palmer, a Skyline Engineering, LLC, vice president who monitored the LEED process, said renovating an existing building to LEED standards posed challenges to the university, Skyline planning engineers and Upper Deck architects, who all collaborated to attain the certification.
LEED status requires rigorous standards for water and energy efficiency, indoor air quality and use of recyclable materials, among others categories. The Council also considers building location and proximity to bus routes, which may encourage less vehicle usage, as well as designated parking for alternative-fuel/low-emission vehicles.
Specifically, the roof is designed with solar panels, which provide for about 1,000 gallons of hot water storage for the residence halls. Other building materials help to minimize energy loss. About 95 percent of the existing walls and roof were reused, and workers were able to divert about 50 percent of construction waste toward recycling centers.