The first university building in Texas built for Gold-level Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is now
open for classes at Southern Methodist University (SMU). The newly
dedicated J. Lindsay Embrey Building houses the Mechanical Engineering
Department and the Environmental and Civil Engineering Department
in SMU’s School of Engineering.
“It is appropriate that a building devoted to educating engineers represent
the responsible use of resources through innovation in design and systems,” said
SMU President R. Gerald Turner. “The building itself will be a teaching
tool for engineering students, who will take its lessons and apply them to their
own studies and careers. We are grateful for the foresight and generosity of
the Embrey family in making this gift to benefit current and future generations.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings account for 39 percent
of the nation’s energy consumption. Universities, with their large physical
plants, require a great deal of energy to operate. To reduce energy costs while
also reducing the impact on the environment, SMU built the Embrey Building to
meet standards for LEED Gold-level certification. The building will save the
university an estimated 30 percent in energy, water and maintenance costs annually,
compared with a non-LEED building.
The Embrey Building will not only be a living laboratory for our students, but
also will serve as a showcase of sustainable design for other projects across
this country,” said Geoffrey Orsak, dean of SMU’s School of Engineering.
The 56,700-square-foot building—named for the late J. Lindsay Embrey, an
SMU trustee emeritus who died in 2005—contains classrooms, laboratories,
research facilities and faculty offices. It includes more than 30 miles of data
wiring, two distinct water systems and the latest in high-tech research equipment.
To comply with LEED standards, nearly all of the building materials came from
within a 500-mile radius of SMU, and more than 75 percent of the construction
waste was recycled rather than ending up in a landfill.
The building’s environment-friendly design includes several features to
reduce energy consumption, such as large windows and a centralized three-story
natural light column designed to maximize daylight and reduce the need for internal
lighting. The building recycles water from the university’s HVAC system,
and includes waterless urinals that save 40,000 gallons each annually.
The LEED Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based national
standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings that are certified
by the U.S. Green Building Council. The system offers four levels of accomplishment:
LEED Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Factors determining levels include
sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources,
indoor environmental quality, and a special category rewarding innovation and