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Raritan Valley Community College’s Workforce Training Center is now LEED certified.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the most widely used green building rating system in the world and an international symbol of excellence.

LEED projects earn points across nine measurements for building excellence—from integrative design to human health, to material use. The Workforce Training Center’s environmentally friendly design and construction earned 48 LEED points, including perfect scores for alternative and public transportation, reduced water use, stormwater design, and green power.

The building also boasts high-efficiency condensing boilers, low-emitting materials, LED lighting, and a rainwater harvesting system for toilet water.

RVCC signed a power purchase agreement to fully power the Workforce Training Center with up to 386 megawatt hours (MWh) per year of low-cost electricity from a new solar array, constructed in the adjacent retention basin. The campus now has three solar arrays.

“The Workforce Training Center proves that any type of structure can incorporate sustainable construction materials and methods to provide a space that is functional and environmentally responsible,” said Brian O’Rourke, RVCC’s executive director of Facilities & Grounds and a LEED accredited professional.

LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments where people live, work, learn, play and worship. In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40% of national CO2 emissions, but LEED-certified buildings have 34% lower CO2 emissions, consume 25% less energy and 11% less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.

“Achieving LEED certification is more than just implementing sustainable practices,” said Peter Templeton, president and CEO, USGBC. “It represents a commitment to making the world a better place and influencing others to do better.

“Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role buildings play in that effort, RVCC is creating a path forward through their LEED certification,” Templeton said.

The two-story, 33,370 square foot Workforce Training Center opened in 2017. RVCC worked with M&E Engineers and SSP Architectural Group on the LEED certification process.