Campus News

Bowdoin Home to Country's First Newly Constructed LEED-Certified Ice Arena

Story posted July 27, 2009

The Sidney J. Watson Arena, dedicated January 18, 2009, has become the first newly constructed ice arena in the United States to earn coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The USGBC certified the ice arena's LEED status July 16, 2009. Two residence halls, Osher and West, were granted LEED Silver certification in 2006.

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"Sustainable design and construction have become a core philosophy at Bowdoin," said Director of Capital Projects Don Borkowski.

"Attaining LEED certification on any project is certainly notable. To be the first new hockey arena in the country to achieve certification on a complex project such as Watson Arena is something everyone at the College can be proud of. It's a great achievement."

LEED is a voluntary, consensus-based rating system for high-performance sustainable buildings that provides a measurable standard for building owners and occupants.

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"It seems counterintuitive that an ice arena, a huge building that ordinarily would use so much energy, could be LEED-certified," said S. Catherine Longley, who, as senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer, oversees the College's many sustainability efforts.

"But when we discovered it was possible, we knew it was the environmentally responsible thing to do. The building's mechanical, refrigeration and dehumidification systems were all chosen with energy optimization in mind. As a result, Watson Arena uses 17 percent less energy than a comparable facility would, reducing greenhouse gas emissions as well as operating costs."

The USGBC awards points in six environmental categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.


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"The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of
our time, including global climate change, dependence on
non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy, and
threats to human health," said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC
president, CEO and founding chair.

"The work of innovative building projects such as the Sidney
J. Watson Arena is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement."

Earning LEED Certification

Sustainable features and practices for which Watson Arena earned LEED credits include:

  • Storm water management system includes two infiltration systems that divert clean rainwater from the roof into the aquifer, and two retention ponds to remove sedimentation and debris from storm water runoff while minimizing peak flow rates into the watershed.

  • Preferred parking for low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles.

  • Landscaping with indigenous plants that require no irrigation minimizes maintenance, conserves potable water and avoids compromising water quality.

  • Low-flow showers, faucets, toilets and urinals result in a 22 percent reduction in water use over that of typical fixtures.

  • Eighty-two percent of generated construction waste (515 tons) was diverted from landfill to recycling.

  • Thirty percent of the building products include pre- and post-consumer recycled material.

  • Forty percent of building materials came from within 500 miles, reducing emissions from transportation while supporting the local economy.

  • All adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and carpet systems used are low-VOC (volatile organic compounds).

The $20 million arena features a 90-ft. by 200-ft. ice surface and seating for 1,900 spectators.

In addition to Bowdoin's men's and women's hockey teams, the arena is also used by nearly 600 skaters from the community, comprising hockey leagues and skating groups that serve everyone from so-called "pee-wees" to senior citizens.

About Sid Watson

The arena is named in honor of Sid Watson, who guided the Bowdoin hockey program to extraordinary heights during his career behind the bench.

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Watch a short tribute to Sid Watson on YouTube or using Quicktime

Watson was an inaugural member of Bowdoin's Athletic Hall of Honor in 2002 and was awarded the Hobey Baker Legend of Hockey Award by the United States Hockey Hall of Fame in 2001.

He was also inducted into the Andover Hall of Fame, the Northeastern University Hall of Fame and the Maine Sports Hall of Fame.

He passed away in April 2004 at the age of 71. Watson lived in Brunswick, Maine, and Naples, Fla., with his wife, Henrietta. His son Christopher is a member of the Class of 1988.

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