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Alumni Hall Awarded for Energy & Resource Efficiency

Renovation wins LEED Gold certification from United States Green Building Council

Alumni Hall at Knox College

Knox College's renovation of historic Alumni Hall is being recognized for highly efficient use of resources in its design, construction, and operation.

The renovation, completed in 2014, has been awarded Gold certification from the United States Green Building Council, under its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system. Built in 1890, Alumni Hall was renovated for $12.5 million, to house state-of-the-art academic, administrative and academic-support facilities.

Alumni Hall is the only LEED Gold certified building in Galesburg.

Criteria for Alumni Hall's LEED Gold certification include:

  • LED lighting and other energy efficient systems reduce energy use by 47%, compared to minimum code requirements.
  • Water control systems reduce waste by 37%, compared to code requirements.
  • Ventilation system provides 30% more fresh air than code requirements.
  • Occupancy sensors reduce lighting and ventilation when areas are not in active use.

"Sustainability has been one of the core principles for the design of the renovation of Alumni Hall," said Knox College President Teresa Amott. "We are delighted to see our efforts recognized by this independent certification."

The Alumni Hall project received 66 points toward certification in seven areas, including site selection, energy efficiency, resource conservation and innovative design. LEED Gold certification is the second-highest level attainable and required at least 60 points out of a possible 110.

Renovation of an existing building is one of the areas where Knox received points toward the award.

"Knox College deserves a tremendous amount of credit for understanding that the restoration and revitalization of Alumni Hall was a long-term commitment," said James Baird of Holabird & Root, the architectural firm that designed the renovation.

"Prior to the renovation, Knox invested in restoring Alumni Hall's structure and exterior enclosure to stabilize it for future use," Baird said. "Now, with the renovation complete, the College has filled the building with uses that are drawing in students, staff, faculty and visitors. The result is that Knox has given Alumni Hall a spectacular new life for the College and the community."

In addition to high-tech offices and classrooms, Alumni Hall houses the new Whitcomb Heritage Center — a free, public museum on the Lincoln-Douglas Debates, funded in part by a grant from the Library of Congress and a gift from Knox alumni Dick '57 and Joan Whitcomb '56.

The LEED certification system was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental and human impacts of building design, construction, maintenance and operation.

Knox incorporated several other sustainability-related features into the Alumni Hall project, even though they did not count toward LEED Gold certification:

  • Sections of the original hardwood flooring were reused to create a semi-circular area in the Petrovich Atrium, echoing the era 50 to 100 years ago when that section of building served as the stage for debates and theatre performances.
  • The Plomin Terrace, a new plaza on the south side of the building, was designed by Hoerr Schaudt Landscape Architects to incorporate low-water-use landscaping and perimeter drainage system that helps reduce water run-off
  • Offices that relocated into Alumni Hall achieved a "waste-free" transfer by reusing or recycling all packing materials.

Below, foam insulation boosted the energy efficiency of the 127-year-old roof; temporary steel beams supported the original exterior walls during renovation; after removal, the steel beams were stockpiled for reuse

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Mechanical room in Alumni Hall

#Mechanical systems save energy, boost indoor environment

Construction waste removal during Alumni Hall renovation.

#Renovation waste reduced, recycled

Visitors to Alumni Hall for an Admitted Students Day at Knox College

#A spectacular new life for College and community - Architect James Baird

Knox College

Printed on Monday, June 21, 2021