The $52.7 million facility, designed by HDR Architecture, Inc., is the first building throughout the University of Nebraska system to become LEED certified, and one of an elite few to achieve certification throughout the state.
"Green building and LEED certification is starting to pick up steam in Nebraska," said Bruce Maine, sustainable consultant with HDR. "The Sorrell Center is a great example of a LEED project that was done at little extra cost to the client.
"Our team utilized simple and manageable sustainable building techniques to create a sophisticated, world-class learning facility that is mindful of the environment and to the University of Nebraska's budget."
"Now that LEED is being adopted by more and more hospitals and academic facilities, the university thought it was time to set a sustainable standard for its buildings," Maine said. "Since following LEED building guidelines in the Sorrell Center, the university has adopted LEED principles into its building code regulations for all new construction."
Key sustainable design features of the Michael F. Sorrell Center include:
- Drought-tolerant landscaping and native grasses that reduce site irrigation by 50 percent;
- Locally harvested construction materials including brick and limestone;
- Locally manufactured materials, many with post-consumer and post-industrial content;
- Low- or no-VOC paints, adhesives and sealants;
- Carpeting that complied with the Carpet & Rug Institute Green Label Plus program for low emissions;
- Extensive use of windows to maximize daylight infiltration and views to the outdoors;
- A campus greenway that features extensive grassy areas and park-like settings;
- Low emitting and low/no-VOC furniture and seating certified by the Green Guard Institute;
- Recycling or salvaging 75 percent of construction waste; and
- Period of extended air changes prior to occupancy to remove any unnecessary toxins in the air that may have resulted from construction.