CORVALLIS, Ore. - Kearney Hall at Oregon State University has received gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council, the second major facility at the university to achieve this recognition for environmentally-sensitive design and construction.

This accomplishment comes 110 years after Apperson Hall - now Kearney Hall - was first built on the OSU campus, a recognizable structure for generations of engineering students at the intersection of 14th and Monroe streets.

During its $12 million renovation, the exterior fa├žade of that building was retained while the interior was completely transformed with state-of-the-art classrooms, a multi-use laboratory, offices and lecture hall.

The restoration was completed earlier this year and made possible, in part, by a $4 million gift from OSU alumni Lee and Connie Kearney - graduates in civil engineering, 1963, and education, 1965 - and the structure was renamed in their honor. It features recycled materials, nontoxic finishes, salvaged woods, efficient lighting, low-flow fixtures and native landscaping.

"Kearney Hall is the ideal learning environment," said Scott Ashford, head of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at OSU. "We are incorporating sustainability across our curriculum, and there are terrific examples throughout the building that students see every day."

The building, Ashford says, also shows students the value of giving back.

"Between the generous gift from the Kearneys and contributions from more than 800 other donors, it was totally paid for with private funds," he said. "This has a tremendous impact on students."

The 30,000-square-foot facility now serves as the home of the School of Civil and Construction Engineering at OSU, with some of its construction details left exposed to serve as an educational showcase for the students and faculty who work there. Also housed there are the Kiewit Center for Infrastructure and Transportation and the Robert C. Wilson Graduate Program.

After final review by the U.S. Green Building Council, the project received 44 credits, well above the 39 needed for gold certification. It also qualifies for a business energy tax credit that the university may transfer to a private business partner.

Among the green features of the building and the practices used to construct it:

  • Mechanical systems, building insulation and sensor controls should save 30 percent more energy than a typical structure that meets Oregon building codes.
  • Heating, cooling, ventilation and lighting equipment installation, calibration and operation is optimal.
  • Due to low-flow toilets, sensor-operated faucets and other innovations, the water use should be 42 percent less than ordinary building practices would yield.
  • About 75 percent of all construction debris was targeted for recycling.
  • Recycled content comprises 16 percent of all materials in the building, and 36 percent of the materials were manufactured locally.
  • Sustainably-harvested wood is integrated into the building, and heavy timbers from the original structure were salvaged to incorporate into benches, stair treads and accent trim.
  • Operable windows, lighting controls, and layout maximize use of daylight and comfort for users.
  • Air quality was preserved by minimizing the volatile organic compounds in materials, adhesives, finishes and paints.

The renovation team included OSU, Hoffman Construction Co., SERA Architects, Walker Macy Landscape Architects, KPFF Consulting Engineers, PAE Consulting Engineers, Northwest Engineering Service, Inc., Anderson Krygier and Listen Acoustics. More information about the project can be obtained on the web at

The project team emphasized that the building should not only reflect the highest levels of environmental standards, but also provide valuable teaching opportunities to the civil engineering and construction engineering management students who will use it in coming generations, officials said. The structure also reflects the college's commitment to sustainable energy through its new Sustainable Energy and Infrastructure, or SENERGI initiative.

An interactive touch screen in the building lobby outlines many of the features that allowed it to receive LEED gold certification. The first building at OSU that achieved that standard was the Kelley Engineering Center, also a part of the OSU College of Engineering.

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Scott Ashford, 541-737-4934