EMU Science Complex earns LEED Gold status

Largest building project in Eastern's history honored as top green building

by Geoff Larcom, Published May 15, 2013

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YPSILANTI - The Eastern Michigan University Science Complex has been awarded LEED® Gold certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

"We're extremely proud in achieving LEED Gold certification," said Scott Storrar, director of facilities planning and construction at EMU. "This designation, along with the many green initiatives across campus, demonstrates our institutional commitment to being environmentally responsible." 

The Science Complex Phase II renovation project started on December 20, 2010, and was completed on August 31, 2012, as the building completely reopened to students for the fall semester. The energy-efficient complex offers modernized classrooms and labs, improved lighting and acoustics and up-to-date chemical storage facilities.

The completion of Phase II followed the dramatic opening in December 2010 of the Science Complex Addition, an adjacent, connected facility that includes new labs, offices and classroom space, plus a spherical planetarium suspended over a visually striking atrium area that serves as a bright and open gathering area for faculty and students.

Together, Phase II and the addition form the new Science Complex, the largest building project in EMU's 164-year history. The total facility is 256,320 square feet, with 107 labs. It houses five departments: biology, chemistry, psychology, the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the Department of Geography & Geology.

Funding for the project was first approved in January 2007. The University broke ground on the project in Nov. of 2008.

Eastern achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.

By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

LEED certification of The Science Complex was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively affect the project itself and the broader community. These features include:

  • Dedicated outdoor air system with radiant cooling and a dual energy recovery system.
  • High efficiency centrifugal chiller.
  • Chilled beam technology (one of the first installations in the state).
  • Glazing systems with tinted frit glass and stainless steel mesh sunshades spanning the west facade of the building.
  • Green roof, planted with drought-resistant flowering plants native to Michigan.
  • Stormwater management strategies, including a bioswale featuring native plants.
  • High-reflectivity materials to reduce solar gain.
  • Occupancy sensors to turn off lights and reset airflows and temperatures when spaces are un-occupied.
  • Energy efficient lighting.
  • Low flow urinals and faucets and dual flush toilets.
  • Diverted nearly 85 percent of on-site generated construction waste from landfill.
  • Recycled content and regional building material selection.
  • Low-Emitting materials (paints, coatings and carpet systems).
  • A green housekeeping program.

"The strength of USGBC has always been the collective strength of our leaders in the building industry," said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO & Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. "Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of the building industry in that effort, Eastern Michigan University demonstrates its leadership through LEED certification of the EMU Science Complex."

U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings.

With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, the council is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013.

The council leads a diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.


The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

Geoff Larcom



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