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Push for platinum

Project team goes for broke with LEED goals

Photos by Ballogg Photography

Photos by Ballogg Photography

For Beloit College, platinum came at no extra cost.

In the case of the college’s Center for the Sciences, it was effort — not money — that pushed the project team to its limits.

Crews led by J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Madison, and Klobucar Construction Co. Inc., Beloit, initially set their sights on achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design silver certification for the $37 million project. But as Jerry Klobucar, vice president of Klobucar Construction, and four others worked to earn LEED accreditation during the project, they learned new sustainable techniques and began to push themselves and the rest of the team toward platinum, which they achieved.

“I don’t think there was any additional cost for taking the leap from silver to platinum,” Klobucar said, “but it was a lot of extra effort to educate people.”

Construction team members learned to catalog every green element of construction — from sealants to specialized lights, which adjust based on the amount of available sunlight.

But to achieve platinum level for the project, which included a new 121,000-square foot science center with more than 50 laboratories and a rooftop renewable energy research area, the construction team had to get creative.

Wood doors were ground up and used as bedding material on hog farms.

Students held a two-day garage sale, offering cabinets, doors, hardware, lab tables, canoes and other items from the old science building.

The local high school construction club turned old doors into 35 tables.

“That recycling and the diversion of waste got us a lot of mileage toward that certification,” said Kent Genter, senior project manager for J.H. Findorff & Son.

“It was just a commitment by all the team members to see how far we could go,” he said.

The efforts paid off, as the project wound up achieving LEED platinum certification, making it the first science center in the state to do so and one of only three buildings in Wisconsin with that level of certification, Klobucar said.

The project even achieved an innovation design score that isn’t listed in LEED, Genter said, for diverting 95 percent of waste materials from landfills. To help achieve that, project leaders worked with a Madison-area environmental group to develop a recycling plan and offered “Toolbox Talks” to educate site workers about recycling.

“There wasn’t a lot of additional cost,” Genter said, “but it was a lot of additional commitment.”

Beloit College Center for Sciences

Location: Beloit

Submitting companies: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., Madison; Klobucar Construction Co. Inc., Beloit

General Contractors: J.H. Findorff & Son Inc.; Klobucar Construction Co. Inc.

Architect: Holabird & Root LLC, Chicago

Engineer: Holabird & Root LLC

Owner: Beloit College

Project size: 121,000 square feet

Project cost: $37 million

Start date: April 2007

Completion date: September 2009

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