Durant Hall earns certification for environment-friendly practices

The U.S. Green Building Council announced last Thursday that Durant Hall had earned official LEED Silver certification — recognizing the environment-friendly practices implemented in the building.

Five other campus buildings have already been LEED certified, with Clark Kerr Campus and Morgan Hall receiving LEED Gold certifications. Durant Hall now stands as the first UC Berkeley on-campus building to be LEED Silver certified after two years of top-to-bottom renovations since the summer of 2008.

Though cuts to state funding forced the project to shut down temporarily, Durant Hall underwent drastic renovations, installing various highly technological, eco-friendly systems, such as energy-efficient lighting and dual-flush toilets that cut consumption of water by 40 percent. Other modifications in Durant Hall included minimizing the need for artificial lighting by maximizing sunlight in workspaces and recycling all of the steel and asphalt waste, said Christine Shaff, the communication director of the UC Berkeley Facilities Services.

Since the building was completed in 1911, Durant Hall has been an important landmark in the history of UC Berkeley, originally housing the Boalt Law School, later the East Asian Library and now serving as the administration building for the College of Letters and Science.

Now that the renovation is finished, students from the service learning class Building Sustainability at Cal — for which students give tours of Durant Hall’s new green features to interested community members — are working to “contain the greenness,” Shaff said.

“Future steps involve actually educating occupants and visitors about utilizing the sustainable features of the building, as well as maintaining the sustainable operations,” said Sruti Bharat, one of the lead program coordinators of Building Sustainability at Cal.

The next capital project is yet to be decided, said Judy Li, director of the ASUC Sustainability Team, but the team has already started to work towards the next LEED certification projects, including California Memorial Stadium.

“We are moving towards systems that will encourage more green building measures, such as energy efficiency practices and construction waste diversion in smaller projects,” said Judy Chess, assistant director of green projects from Capital Projects.

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