Campus News

Buck Center for Health and Fitness Achieves LEED Silver Designation

Story posted January 13, 2010

The Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness has earned coveted LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver certification established by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

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

"Comprising a fitness area, athletic offices and the College's health center, the building was designed to provide faculty, staff and students with a healthy environment and to ensure that we are operating in a sustainable and energy-efficient manner," says S. Catherine Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration and treasurer.

"This recognition firmly acknowledges our commitment to sustainability."

Water use, energy performance, indoor air quality and sustainable materials are a few of the key components that were taken into consideration when seeking LEED silver certification.

The building contains several green performance elements, including energy-efficient lighting and water fixtures, certified wood and eco-friendly furniture and carpeting, as well as water-efficient landscaping.

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Cardio equipment and weight machines on the ground floor of the Buck Center for Health and Fitness.

The Buck Center, made possible through the generosity of Dr. Peter Buck '52, opened in September 2009; a formal dedication ceremony is scheduled January 28, 2010.

The project was designed by Cambridge Seven Architects of Cambridge, Mass., and built by Barr & Barr, of Framingham, Mass. The College partnered with Fore Solutions of Portland, Maine, as its LEED consultant.

LEED-Certified Projects
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The Sidney J. Watson Arena, dedicated January 18, 2009, is the first newly constructed ice arena in the U.S. to earn LEED certification.

More about LEED certification here.

The Buck Center becomes the fourth campus building to be granted LEED certification. The Sidney J. Watson Arena was granted LEED status in July 2009; two residence halls, Osher and West, earned LEED Silver certification in 2006.

The LEED Silver designation requires a total of 33-38 points; Bowdoin received 36 points for the Buck Center project.

"This latest achievement demonstrates the College's continued commitment to sustainable building design and construction practices," says Director of Capital Projects Don Borkowski.

"All the hard work and difficult decisions made by the programming, design and construction teams enabled us to incorporate many sustainable elements that made silver certification possible."

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

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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Free weights on the lower level.

"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 Bowdoin's Peter Buck Center for Health and Fitness is a fundamental driving force in the green building movement."

Earning LEED Silver Certification

The following practices contributed to the Buck Center project's LEED credits:


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  • Low-flow water fixtures yield 48.2% reduction in annual water consumption (compared to standard practice), saving 118,340 gallons per year
  • More than 95% of construction waste recycled and therefore diverted from landfills
  • In support of local renewable energy projects, 70% of the electricity for the first two years of operation provided with renewable energy credits from the Mars Hill Wind Farm in Maine
  • Building products that incorporate recycled and post-consumer content
  • Locally extracted and manufactured building products
  • Indoor air quality management plan
  • Low-VOC emitting building products such as adhesives, paints and carpets
  • Low-mercury fluorescent lamps
  • Highly reflective roof membrane to reduce solar gain and heat island effect
  • High-efficiency mechanical and air handling equipment for optimal energy performance
  • Automated light management system

Read more about Sustainability at Bowdoin.

About Peter Buck

Peter Buck, a member of the Bowdoin College Class of 1952, is a nuclear physicist and philanthropist who co-founded the Subway franchise restaurant chain.

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Peter Buck '52, H'08

Born in South Portland, Maine, Buck earned master's and doctoral degrees in physics at Columbia University. From 1957 to 1978, he held positions as a nuclear physicist with several companies.

In 1965, he made entrepreneurial history when he loaned a 17-year-old family friend $1,000 to open the first Subway Sandwiches and Salads Shop. This endeavor grew to two stores the next year, 16 shops by 1973, and individual franchise sales by the mid-1970s. As of January 2010, there were 32,157 Subway restaurants in 90 countries.

Buck, who now lives in Danbury, Conn., was awarded an honorary doctor of human letters degree by the College in 2008. Read about Buck's philanthropy.

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