COCC strives for ‘green’ ratings on new campus construction projects

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The new construction at Central Oregon Community College is looking for the green stamp of approval. New construction projects at Central Oregon Community College are working toward third party sustainable building certification through the Earth Advantage Institute.

Kirsteen Wolf
The Broadside

The new construction at Central Oregon Community College is looking for the green stamp of approval. New construction projects at Central Oregon Community College are working toward third party sustainable building certification through the Earth Advantage Institute.

EAI, based in Oregon, is a nation-wide ,non-profit organization that promotes sustainable building. The group runs certification programs and consults on cost effective building solutions for construction projects.
“A certified green building is one that is well engineered for energy efficiency, designed to last longer, avoid many maintenance issues, as well as use sustainable materials to avoid indoor air toxins” according to the EAI website. “A sustainably built high performance structure also uses resources wisely, including water and land.”
COCC chose green in part because of a request from the board of directors who asked for the possibility for third party certification to be investigated, according to Gene Zinkgraf, director of construction for COCC.
“It’s a very good practice to build green if you want a long lasting and efficient buildings,” said Zinkgraf.
The Science, Culinary, Health Careers and the Redmond Technology buildings are all working toward certification.
Building green pays off. Buildings that are either energy efficient,third-party certified or both are eligible for financial incentives that can cover or surpass the certification fee. To date COCC has received more than $100,000 back in sustainable building incentives from both EAI and Energy Trust of Oregon. The money will come close to covering the cost of certification.
The EAI website lists some of the personal benefits from building green: safety (furnaces/air ducts) low VOC paint and peace of mind. The buildings will have information about the sustainable elements of the buildings. Zinkgraf feels that students are in tune with sustainability issues and will appreciate the green elements of the buildings.
Diana Fischetti, commercial outreach specialist with EAI feels that third party certified projects work well with publicly funded endeavors. The rigorous certification process assures that money is being well spent.
Fischetti thinks the buildings will benefit students too. With access to daylight and a reduction of allergy and asthma irritants and other elements of sustainable building, it may be that students feel the setting is more conducive to learning.
“[The buildings] are beautiful,” she said.” I think user comfort will be the first things students notice.”

(Contact: kwolf@cocc.edu)

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