Two Penn Campus Renovation Projects Garner LEED Gold Designations

PHILADELPHIA -- Two recent renovations on the University of Pennsylvania campus have been certified LEED Gold this month by the U.S. Green Building Council: The School of Arts and Sciences’ Music Building at 202 S. 34th St., and Joe’s Café, a new eatery in the Wharton School’s Steinberg-Dietrich Hall.

The Music Building and Joe’s Café are in good company. They join Penn’s first LEED-certified project, the Horticulture Center at the Morris Arboretum, which earlier this year achieved a LEED Platinum rating, the highest possible. LEED®, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

The Music Building renovation, originally designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, exceeded these targets with efficient lighting, controls and mechanical and plumbing systems, passive storm water management techniques, reduced site water use with selection of drought resistant plant species and "smart" controls that adjust irrigation based on rainfall levels. Also noted were the project’s recycling or salvaging 95 percent of construction waste, its use of recycled and regionally produced construction materials such as steel and concrete, its interior finishes and Greenguard-labeled furnishings made with sustainable and recycled materials as well as the ongoing use of "green" housekeeping methods and cleaning products. The project was designed by Ann Beha, Architects.

Joe’s Café was built to achieve a LEED Gold designation for its commercial interior renovation, food-service practices, recycling, composting and chemical-free cleaning methods. The Café—Penn’s first sustainable commercial interior — replaces a smaller café that closed in 2009.  It was designed by Voith & Mactavish Architects, LLP.

The concept of a sustainable cafe was conceived when Penn launched its Climate Action Plan in 2009, outlining strategies to reduce the University’s carbon footprint, including incorporating green building methods, increasing recycling and decreasing waste output and energy use.

Joe’s Cafe earned two innovation credits that recognized going above and beyond to green the facility – one for green cleaning and the other for sustainable café operations.  At Joe’s, the staff has incorporated green cleaning by minimizing and often eliminating cleaning chemicals altogether, and where they are necessary or required by law, environmentally-preferable products were sought out.  The café was also recognized for sustainable café operations:  for providing local, organic and healthy menu options, as well as committing to divert 50 percent of total waste from landfills via a combination of recycling and composting, both pre- and post-consumer.