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April 17, 2014

Greensburg’s Cassell Hall gets top LEED designation

CassellFrank A. Cassell Hall, Pitt-Greensburg’s first sustainable building, has been awarded Gold LEED certification from the United States Green Building Council.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is the rating system used to designate certification of sustainable buildings.

Cassell Hall  opened in August 2012 and earned the 2012 Master Building Excellence Award for new construction under $10 million.

FortyEighty Architecture designed the building to occupy the steeply sloping hillside along the south bank of Slate Run. Rycon Construction served as the contractor.

Cassell Hall is a two-story, 16,500 square-foot building that was designed to realize 30 percent annual energy savings and reduce water usage by 50 percent.

Highlights include:

  • Two green roofs feed a rainwater harvesting cistern. The cistern provides non-potable gray water for the building’s toilets and is expected to reduce water usage by more than 50 percent. Gray water is returned to the building for flushing of toilets, a drip irrigation system and service water at the green roofs.
  • The building’s landscaping is an extension of the natural site and includes native flowers and trees as part of demonstration rain gardens and storm water bioswales for on-site storm water management. (Native plants require less watering and help to support a healthy ecosystem. Rainwater from the building’s roof is collected, filtered through natural plantings, and stored in a 5,000-gallon cistern located below parking.)
  • Design elements enhance shading and natural light in order to maximize daylight while minimizing solar heat gain.
  • Radiant floors provide an energy-efficient way to heat spaces and keep heat costs low.
  • Energy-efficient heat pumps and advanced mechanical systems with multizone controls contribute to energy savings.

The energy savings from these various features allow the building to use:

  • 28 percent less energy for heating and cooling than a similar new facility, and
  • 50 percent less water than a similar new facility.