As our work around the country continues, our crew has landed in Harrisonburg, Virginia; home to Eastern Mennonite University. As more universities embark on their mission to be green, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is becoming more prominent. EMU has the first building in Harrisonburg to be LEED certified, and for us here at The Refinishing Touch, this will be our first LEED certified project at a university. We couldn’t be more honored to be a part of such a huge environmental impact.
Earth conscious decisions are constantly being made at EMU. At the residence halls for instance, construction plans included tearing down the old Oakwood based hall and building new, more efficient housing. Now known as Cedarwood Hall – EMU’s first LEED certified building – this certified building boasts extensive use of natural lighting, flooring made of recycled and natural materials as well as a bioretention filtration system to manage rainwater runoff. EMU has shown its commitment to green initiatives through projects such as this.
Five major categories are used to determine LEED certification: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environment and innovation and design processes. The Refinishing Touch are specialists in the latter. Our crew spent several days refinishing the built-in units in Elmwood Hall to complete the first phase of work. As always, the work was completed on-site where non-toxic lacquers with no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) were used, which guarantees indoor air quality and safety. VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids, and concentration of many VOCs are consistently higher indoor than outdoors.
As we’ve mentioned, green construction at EMU is part of the growing effort the university is making to improve our environment. Better building however is not the only method. EMU has received national recognition two years in a row for their recycling efforts. A Creation Care Council composed of students, faculty and staff that meet regularly throughout the academic year has been developed, and the school offers environmentally based majors, such as ‘Environmental Sustainability’ and ‘Peace Building and Development’, which incorporate sustainable practices into real life studies.
We are proud to be a part of EMU’s continued transformation and take pride in knowing that we will return in the future to complete phase two in Maplewood Hall for this increasingly green university.