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Auxiliary Services, Barnes & Noble at NMSU building awarded LEED Gold certification

New Mexico State University's Auxiliary Services and Barnes & Noble at NMSU building has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, in recognition of its energy efficiency, green technology and earth-friendly building practices used during construction.

Construction workers on ladders and lifts work inside the Barnes & Noble at NMSU bookstore and Auxiliary Services building in July 2011.
Workers are pictured putting the finishing touches on the Barnes & Noble at New Mexico State University bookstore in July 2011. The building was just granted LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. (NMSU photo by Kyle Pierson)

"LEED buildings provide a long-term benefit to the campus and the environment. When tackling this project everyone on the team had LEED Silver as a target," said Tammy Anthony, NMSU assistant vice president for Auxiliary Services. "So in the end to have reached LEED Gold is a reflection of how hard this team worked. This is very exciting to me and I am very proud of how everyone pulled together to reach higher than our standard of silver."

The U.S. Green Building Council developed LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, in 2000 to provide independent, third-party verification that a building, home or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health, including sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED buildings are designed to lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, be healthier and safer for building occupants and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed an executive order in 2006 requiring that all future state-funded building projects of more than 15,000 square feet be built to meet LEED Silver standards. NMSU has met or exceeded this requirement for all new buildings completed since then.

Some of the features of a LEED certified building in New Mexico include highly efficient mechanical, electrical and water systems, connectivity to the community, efficient lighting, systems to lower greenhouse gases and xeriscaping, rather than using traditional landscaping.

Enrique Espalin, NMSU construction manager for the project, said that this building is a prime example of a LEED building, across the board.

"The building has a nice energy management system, which controls the lighting and HVAC systems when the building isn't in use, in order to save energy," he said. "It has low-flow toilets, sinks and urinals, and uses timed drip irrigation for the landscaping."

This project is the 11th building in the NMSU system to be LEED certified, and the eighth to be awarded gold status.

"This is the image NMSU should be presenting to our community and our students," Anthony said. "It means NMSU can be and is on the leading edge of improvements to our environment and meeting higher standards in our buildings."