News

Sandia LEEDs the way with New Mexico campus certification

By Stephanie Holinka

Photography By Randy Montoya

Thursday, May 10, 2018

LEEDS logo

The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the Sandia/New Mexico site a LEED v.4 for Campus Certification, the first such certification at a Department of Energy lab. The Sandia/New Mexico award is the largest LEED Campus Certification in the history of the program, as well as the first Version 4 certification in New Mexico.

LEED quantifies building performance in terms of energy and water use. The performance measures look at site selection, green power, recycling and indoor air quality, as well as opportunities for capitalizing on daylight.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design v.4 for Campus Certification is a framework for quantifying sustainability measures that contribute to LEED certification on a campus-wide basis. Sandia/New Mexico received its certification for areas in which new projects are anticipated in 5-7 years, so the certification includes Tech Areas 1, 2 and 4.

“LEED for Campus helps Sandia plan for and achieve a healthier and more sustainable campus,” says Sandia project lead Alicia Brown. “It simplifies the building and infrastructure site selection process by putting all of the information in one location, and helps make environmental considerations an extremely important measure in new building and infrastructure site selection.”

“The campus certification allows Sandia to take credit for the many existing environmental initiatives, mandates and amenities that contribute credits towards LEED for Campus certification. This allows us to cite and document all of the efforts in one location,” Alicia says.

LEED for Campus also provides a reference guide for project managers so future projects are proposed within the LEED for Campus framework, allowing Sandia to retain the certification through new building projects and to avoid costly change orders.

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Sandia's Bldg. 725 Data Center addition, the first building certified under the LEEDS campus umbrella, and Sandia’s first LEED certified data center.  (Photo by Randy Montoya)

The first building that will be certified under the campus umbrella is the Bldg. 725 Data Center addition. It will be Sandia’s first LEED certified data center.

Alicia says data centers are hard to certify as green buildings because they require more water and power than a typical office building.

The team spearheading the LEED v.4 for Campus also won Sandia’s Environmental Management Services Sequoia Award.

The federal government requires that all new buildings that cost more than $5 million must achieve LEED Gold certification.