New public health building earns top sustainability rating

The Milken Institute School of Public Health received the highest ranking under the LEED certification system, the University announced Tuesday. Hatchet File Photo
The Milken Institute School of Public Health received the highest ranking under the LEED certification system, the University announced Tuesday. Hatchet File Photo
A leading environmental organization has awarded the Milken Institute School of Public Health building its highest sustainability rating, the University announced Tuesday.

The U.S. Green Building Council endorsed GW’s newest academic building with a platinum-level certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system. The $75 million public health building, which opened its doors this spring, is the first University building to receive the organization’s top mark.

The Washington Circle structure features a green roof that reduces stormwater runoff, a rainwater collection system and an environmentally efficient heating and air conditioning system.

The building was also designed to promote a healthy lifestyle. Architects hid the elevators but highlighted a grand staircase in the middle of the building, for example, and all the offices offer standing desks.

The building, which houses all seven of the public health school’s departments under one roof for the first time, opened to students in May. Faculty began moving into the building two months earlier.

Five of GW’s newest buildings have earned the gold-level certification on the LEED scale.

Sustainability has become a major GW focus during University President Steven Knapp’s tenure. Last month, the University announced a partnership with GW Hospital, American University and Duke Energy Renewables to draw about half its energy needs from solar power.

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