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LEED Gold Certification for Two Penn Projects—Music Building and Joe's Café

March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27

Music Builing, UPENN
The renovated and expanded music building turned red bricks into Gold.

Two recent renovations at the University of Pennsylvania have been certified LEED Gold this month by the US Green Building Council: the School of Arts and Sciences’ Music Building on 34th Street, and Joe’s Café, a new eatery in the Wharton School’s Steinberg Hall-Dietrich Hall.

The Music Building and Joe’s Café join Penn’s first LEED-certified project, the Morris Arboretum’s Horticulture Center, which achieved a LEED Platinum rating, the highest possible (Almanac November 23, 2010). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

The renovated and expanded Music Building, originally designed to meet LEED Silver requirements, has become Penn’s first LEED Gold building; exceeding these targets with efficient lighting and controls, mechanical and plumbing systems, passive storm water management techniques, reduced site water use with planting material selection and “smart” controls that adjust irrigation based on rainfall levels. Also noted was the project’s recycling or salvaging 95 percent of construction waste; use of recycled and regionally produced construction materials such as steel and concrete; interior finishes and Greenguard labeled furnishings made with sustainable and recycled materials as well as the ongoing use of “green” housekeeping methods and cleaning products.

The Music Building, (Almanac April 27, 2010) designed by Ann Beha  Architects, has also been recognized with a 2010 Preservation Award for Sensitive and Compatible Design of an Addition to a Public/Institutional Building from Preservation Pennsylvania, a 2010 Honor Award Citation for Design from the Boston Society of Architects and a 2010 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia.

Joe’s Café was built to achieve a LEED Gold designation for its commercial interior renovation, food-service practices, recycling, composting and chemical-free cleaning methods. The Café—Penn’s first sustainable “commercial interior”—replaces a smaller café that closed in 2009.

The concept of a sustainable café was conceived when Penn launched its Climate Action Plan in 2009, outlining strategies to reduce the University’s carbon footprint, including incorporating green building methods, increasing recycling and decreasing waste output and energy use.

The Café was designed to:

• Recycle or compost 50 percent by volume of its waste, including but not limited to food scraps, utensils, take-out containers and fryer oil, an amount that is twice the current total campus baseline of 24 percent.

• Purchase food and drink produced seasonally and within 150 miles, as well as hormone—and antibiotic—free meat and dairy, vegetarian-fed beef, Certified Humane eggs, fish sourced using the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch guidelines, dolphin-safe tuna and Fair Trade and Certified Organic coffee.  

• Offer entrees, sauces, salads, roasted meats, stocks, baked goods and vegetables that are made daily from scratch, served with portion control in mind and include vegetarian options.

• Use no trans fats, peanut oil or MSG.

• Include an educational program on sustainable food.

Almanac - March 29, 2011, Volume 57, No. 27