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Marine Studies Center Gets LEED Status

Texas A&M University at Galveston Ocean and Coastal Studies Building was awarded the LEED® Gold building certification.

by WHR Architects
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WHR Architects' Texas A&M Ocean & Coastal Studies Building awarded Prestigious LEED® Gold Building Certification

Houston, TX — The Texas A&M University at Galveston (TAMUG) Ocean and Coastal Studies Building (OCSB) was awarded the prestigious LEED® Gold building certification on July 25, 2011.

Designed by WHR Architects, the 110,000 square foot building is the largest marine research facility on the Texas Gulf Coast, and among the finest facilities of its kind in the nation. Located on Pelican Island in Galveston County, overlooking TAMUG’s waterfront operations, the facility houses the Texas Institute of Oceanography, Center for Texas Beaches and Shores, Texas Seafood Safety Laboratory, Laboratory of Oceanographic and Environmental Research, Coastal Zone Laboratory, and the university’s Marine Biology and Marine Sciences academic departments and the President’s Administrative Suite. "The building was designed to reinforce Texas A&M University at Galveston’s position as a leading marine education and research institution,” said Jill Harmon Bard, WHR Principal and project architect for the building.

TAMUG’s OCSB achieved LEED Gold certification for its comprehensive set of strategies with regards to sustainable site design, energy & water use efficiency, use of sustainably harvested and local materials and a high indoor environmental quality for its occupants. “The project truly represents a whole-building integrated team approach, both through design and construction” said WHR’s Komal Kotwal, Sustainable Design Leader. “With strategies that simultaneously benefited several aspects of the project, we were able to achieve an ecologically sensitive, healthful and beautiful environment.”

The project is designed for 27% energy reduction over baseline, 41% water-use savings and 100% non-potable water for irrigation. 41% of TAMUG OCSB’s materials are regionally sourced, 31% of the total materials have recycled content and 89% of the construction waste was recycled.

Regents Professor Dr. William A. Seitz, Associate Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, and Acting Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Office, who worked closely with the design team on the development of the OCSB, said, “The OCSB is one of the greenest facilities in the Texas A&M University system and is a source of pride for students, faculty, staff and the community at large.”

“WHR has been fortunate to work with Texas A&M University on several significant projects in recent years, including Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi, Harte Research Institute (with Richter Architects); Prairie View A&M University, College of Nursing, Houston (Texas Medical Center); Texas A&M University, General Services Complex/Office Of The Texas State Chemist, and The Center for Urban and Structural Entomology in College Station," says WHR President and Chairman David Watkins, FAIA. "We know firsthand of their commitment to providing quality education and the facilities necessary to deliver on that vision. WHR is proud to be a part of creating this critical and environmentally sustainable building."

WHR’s recent and current projects include: The Methodist Hospital Research Institute in the Texas Medical Center, Houston; The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Mid-Campus Building One in Houston; University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Research Park Complex, Behavioral and Biomedical Sciences Building; Sam Houston State University, James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center in Huntsville; University of Texas Health Science Center at Tyler; and Stephen F. Austin State University, Richard and Lucille DeWitt School of Nursing in Nacogdoches.

About WHR Architects

WHR Architects is a full service architecture, interior design and technology planning firm. The firm’s commitment to critical thinking is balanced by an ingrained empathy that results in both improved project outcomes and positive working experiences for their clients. With over 110 people in Houston and Dallas, Texas, Washington DC and New Jersey, the 32-year-old firm is working on projects throughout the US for top–tier public and private education and medical institutions. WHR was named the 2010 IIDA Texas/Oklahoma Large Firm of the Year and 2008 AIA Houston Firm of the Year.

About U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 78 local affiliates, nearly 16,000 member companies and organizations, and nearly 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity.

Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Nearly 40,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising nearly 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 120 countries. In addition, more than 11,000 homes have been certified under the LEED for Homes rating system, with more than 52,000 more homes registered.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

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