The University of New Mexico College of Education Addition was recently awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum status, the United States Green Building Council's highest award for sustainable design and construction. It is only the second building in New Mexico to achieve the honor and the first public building to do so.

"This is an extraordinary honor for the University of New Mexico community", said Richard Howell, dean, College of Education. "We want to thank all of our partners that helped us to achieve this goal including the design and construction team of Gregory T. Hicks and Associates, Jaynes Corporation, along with their many subcontractors, our UNM partners, Office of Capital Projects and Physical Plant Department and staff from the College of Education."

The new building, with more than 26,000 sq. ft., houses classrooms, learning areas and administrative offices, and is the second building on campus to adhere to the Governor of New Mexico's Executive Order requiring new buildings acquire a minimum of silver certification under the LEED® Green Rating System established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The building incorporated high efficiency HVAC systems with individual thermal and lighting control, ultra high efficiency water use and a 10 kilowatt photovoltaic system. During construction more than 75 percent of the waste was diverted from landfills, materials used exceeded 20 percent recycled content and were 20 percent regionally manufactured. Only materials that had very low volatile chemical content were used throughout the building. The building performance will be measured and verified by UNM's Engineering and Energy Services Division for both thermal comfort and energy performance over the next year.

The University's Commissioning Authority, James Wernicke, PE, LEED AP and past-president of the US Green Building Council's New Mexico Chapter noted that the project was a difficult challenge that only succeeded due to the dedicated efforts of the College of Education staff, the Physical Plant Department, the Office of Capital Projects, architect G.T. Hicks, General Contractor Jaynes Corp and LEED AP Consultant Sue Barnett.
"Achieving the last four LEED points proved to be a real challenge and we weren't sure we would make it and still stay on budget," said Wernicke. "This project shows that we can build high performance buildings without losing site of the cost objective."

The COE Building is designed to influence how the practice of education is taught in the next century. The building was designed to incorporate new teaching and learning practices and to encourage collaborative and interactive learning; integrate advanced media technologies and wireless capacities; and provide comfortable, durable and stimulating surroundings.

In March, the Biology Department opened a new research wing in Castetter Hall that was designated LEED Gold status, by the U.S. Green Building Council, in recognition of its environmentally-conscious design.

Media Contact: Steve Carr, (505) 277-5920; e-mail: