Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System

University Communications

A voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings

The Searle Chemistry Laboratory will be the first building at the University of Chicago to achieve LEED-certified status. LEED has an immediate and measurable result in how a building performs in energy usage and in the environment. LEED emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in five areas:

  • Sustainable site development
  • Water savings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials and resources selection
  • Indoor environmental quality.

The Searle Laboratory is attaining LEED credits in all of these areas. Specific credits and LEED design features are
as follows.

  • Reusing the Building- At least 90% of the existing walls, roof and floors were saved
  • State-of-the-Art Bathrooms - High efficiency toilets and low flow sinks
  • Making Efforts Easy - Single source recycling bins on each floor
  • Low volatile organic compound-emitting materials - Make for fresh air throughout
  • Lofty Views – From 97% of the spaces
  • Lab Sinks - Low flow faucets with aerators
  • Hazardous Waste Cleanup – Hazardous materials removed and remediated to regulatory standards
  • Responsible Choices – Utilize refrigerants that minimize emissions
  • Smart Sensors - Automatic sash closures for fume hoods dramatically reduce energy consumption.
  • Excellent Indoor Air Quality – 100% outside air ventilates the building
  • Minimizing Waste- 92% of construction waste recycled
  • Recycled Construction Material Content – Many of the materials used contain recycled components
  • Protecting the Forests – Forest Stewardship Council-certified* wood used for casework, millwork, ceilings and wall paneling
  • Lighting Effectively - Passive and active lighting controls maximize daylighting; reduce energy use
  • Handling Hazardous Chemicals - Searle has an exemplary management system for handling chemicals and lab waste
  • Green Cleaning – Appropriate cleaning products used in Searle Lab produced to green standards
  • Go Local – Materials selected from sources within 500 miles of Chicago
  • Information Accessibility - Touchable Directory shows building’s green features to educate visitors
  • Managing Risks from Air Effluents – By wind tunnel tests of a model of the building
  • Runner and Biker Friendly - New bike racks and a shower and locker room
  • Water Efficient Landscaping – Drip irrigation system
  • Smart Growth- Within walking distance of basic services and 6 bus lines No new parking was provided
  • Green Roof - Part of the roof is vegetated – insulates, mitigates storm runoff
  • Reflective Roof - The white roof reduces heat absorption in summer
  • Light Pollution Minimized - Reduces sky-glow and glare
  • High Performer - Upgraded insulation, efficient glazing and sealing reduce energy costs