Indiana State University Newsroom



Federal Hall renovation receives national sustainability certification

August 9, 2013

Several Indiana State University business professors routinely ride their bikes to their workplace before showering in part of their building that formerly housed decades-old abandoned appliances and office supplies.

The building's shower is just one redesigned element in a renovation that has garnered national certification for sustainability.

Federal Hall, the former downtown Terre Haute federal building that now houses the Scott College of Business at Indiana State, received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certified projects fulfill criteria set forth by the council, which then reviews the completed projects for their commitment to environmental sustainability efforts. Federal Hall received the organization's third-highest designation.

"We're incredibly proud. LEED certification is prestigious, but it's also important," said Bruce McLaren, associate dean of the Scott College who worked closely with architects on the Federal Hall renovation. "It's the right thing to do. Indiana State sets an example in any number of ways for the community. Our sustainability efforts with recycling and other energy efficiency initiatives, such as the Federal Hall renovations, are a significant way in which we are fulfilling that role."

Federal Hall, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, presented some unique challenges, as architects had to work within the existing structural framework, said Lisa Gomperts, project manager for Schmidt Associates, the architectural firm on the project. The existing building design and central campus mechanical system limited the energy efficiency points that would have been available had it been constructed as a new building with newer, more efficient mechanical systems.

"With an existing structure, that always causes some unique challenges in terms of LEED," Gomperts said. "You're working with an existing building envelope that you don't have a lot of control over, and that's one of the pieces that helps with the energy efficiency of the building."

Federal Hall's design and location had some advantages supporting sustainability. The architects were able to reuse much of the original structure for the renovation. Also, the building is close to multiple restaurants and the city's public transit utility, which encourages walking and alternative transportation use.

The architects were able to make some strategic adjustments to the building's exterior to have a positive energy improvement. Insulation was added to the roof and windows were updated along the building's west corridor, since that had the largest impact on air seeping into the building, Gomperts said.

"At Schmidt Associates, we try to approach every project with a sustainability mindset, even if we're not pursing LEED certification," she added. "It doesn't drastically change the way we would approach any project, but there are often some additional efforts that you have to make in order to achieve certain LEED credits."

The U.S. Green Building Council has a two-step process for LEED certification. The council first reviews the design and then reviews the construction phase after the building is finished, Gomperts said. The organization reviews a variety of elements, such as the recycled content of construction materials used and the amount of construction debris recycled.

Contractors and architects need to plan early for a potential project seeking LEED certification, said Brian McCormick, project manager for Shiel Sexton, the general contractor on the Federal Hall renovation. The planning spans multiple aspects of the project, from waste management to minimizing harmful effects to indoor air quality. There are LEED credits allotted for having a specified percentage of building materials manufactured from within 500 miles of the project's location, McCormick said."For LEED projects to run successfully, it's important to establish a plan from the beginning and get buy-in from all parties involved," McCormick said. "LEED Silver certification requires planning from ... beginning to end. Multiple written plans are established prior to work beginning."

Federal Hall is the beginning of a trend, as Indiana State will approach future major renovations and new buildings with the expectation that they will be LEED certified. The $21 million North Residence Hall, which broke ground last fall and is the first new residence hall at Indiana State in more than four decades, will also be LEED certified, said Bryan Duncan, director of capital planning and improvements at Indiana State.

"The fact that Federal Hall is our first LEED certified building, and that it's a complicated historic renovation that was able to meet LEED certification is a pretty big feat," Duncan said.

The more than $20 million renovation of Federal Hall included new construction, renovations and preservation of the building's traditional art deco structure.

"A great deal of work from many people for over a decade participated in making the vision of Federal Hall a reality," said Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College. "The fact that the renovation not only repurposed a beautiful building for its new mission of student learning, but that it was also done in an environmentally conscious way while maintaining much of the building's beautiful architectural tradition is outstanding."

For more information about LEED certification, visit http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/LEED-award-for-College-of/i-XtZWWDh/0/L/07_25_13_LEED_group-5977-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)Brien Smith (left), dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University; Bryan Duncan, director of capital planning and improvements at ISU; Lisa Gomperts, project manager for Schmidt Associates; and Brian McCormick, project manager for Shiel Sexton pose near the LEED Silver plaque in Federal Hall at Indiana State.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/LEED-award-for-College-of/i-pSpsLB7/0/L/07_25_13_LEED_award-5746-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)Bruce McLaren (left), associate dean of the Scott College of Business at Indiana State University; Brien Smith, dean of the Scott College; Diann McKee, vice president for business affairs, finance and university treasurer; and Dan Bradley, president of Indiana State University pose at the LEED Silver plaque in Federal Hall. The renovations to repurpose the former downtown Terre Haute federal building into the home of the Scott College of Business received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its environmental sustainability.

Photo: http://isuphoto.smugmug.com/Other/Media-Services/LEED-award-for-College-of/i-VSSbT39/0/L/07_25_13_LEED_group-5974-L.jpg (ISU/Tony Campbell)The LEED Silver plaque in Federal Hall at Indiana State University.

Contact: Bruce McLaren, associate dean, Scott College of Business, Indiana State University, 812-237- or bruce.mclaren@indstate.edu

Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or austin.arceo-negrich@indstate.edu

Story Highlights

The project received the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certified projects fulfill criteria set forth by the council for environmental sustainability.

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