Southern Methodist University

Last month, Southern Methodist University's (SMU) Dallas Hall received the LEED Gold Certification. The academic building is the first on a Texas university campus and only the second 100-year-old building in the United States to achieve the certification for the operation and maintenance of an existing structure. 

Nineteen other buildings on the campus have also earned LEED certification. But Philip Jabour, SMU's associate vice president and university architect for the Office of Facilities Planning and Management, describes the Dallas Hall project as unusual because "[the school was] able to certify a building completed in 1915 to meet sustainability standards that didn't exist when it was new." 

SMU is known for its distinctive Collegiate Georgian architectural style. Dallas Hall, which took three years to complete after the laying of its cornerstone in 1912, was inspired by the Roman Pantheon and by the library Thomas Jefferson designed for the University of Virginia. In 1915, the domed structure housed the entire university, including classrooms, offices, and a library, among many other amenities.

Southern Methodist University

"We are celebrating our SMU Centennial," Jabour said, "so we are quite proud that the oldest, most iconic, and arguably best-loved building on our campus is the newest to earn LEED Gold Status. 

Sustainable features that were key in earning the hall's certification include a 33 percent reduction in indoor water usage; 87 percent sustainable electronic purchases; 100 percent sustainable furniture purchases; 60 percent of ongoing consumable waste diverted from landfills; 100 perfect of electronic waste diverted from landfills; and 38 percent energy use reduction. According to Norman Lehman, Director of Sustainability at The Beck Group, which served as the project's LEED consultant, this energy reduction was achieved by calibrating energy and water meters to reflect accurate use; replacing existing exit signs with LED exit signs; installing vending machine misers, which are used to reduce the energy consumed by vending machines; and retrofitting existing incandescent lighting with LED technology and lighting controls. The Beck Group served as the LEED consultant on the project.