The argument could be made that an energy efficiency retrofit of an existing building is more eco friendly than constructing a new green building from the ground up. When the University of Louisville completed their renovation of the Duthie Center, which was originally dedicated in 1947, the school was able to reuse 95 percent of the original structure.
Needing new materials for five percent of a building instead of 100 percent is quite a big difference and definitely gives solid meaning to the term reuse. Ultimately, this renovation earned a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC); the first LEED certified renovated building on the U of L campus.
During the renovation process, 27 percent of the new materials used had recycled content while 31 percent were regionally sourced. Of the five percent of the building that was not reusable, 77 percent were recycled. These measures all earned points for the project on the LEED certification checklist.
Other eco focused design and construction features include room occupation sensors that control both the lighting and the air-handling system, low flow plumbing fixtures that lead to a 54 percent reduction in water use, premium parking for fuel efficient cars, and easy access to mass transit.
Award winning architectural firm Lord, Aeck and Sargent worked with U of L on the Duthie Center renovation. Barry Abrams was the project manager for the green renovation and watched the building transform over the past few years. "It is extremely rewarding to see how the Duthie Center has evolved over the years. It has served many functions and gone through several renovations and additions. It's exciting to be a part of its new life, once again serving many diverse student, teaching and research functions while being responsive to our sensitive environment." Source: U of L
Duthie Center’s certification expands the U of L’s LEED registered and certified portfolio which also includes a LEED Gold certification for the Clinical and Translational Research building and pending certifications for the Center for Predictive Medicine and the School of Dentistry.