Claremont McKenna College Awarded Prestigious LEED® Gold Certification for the Kravis Center


Breathtaking luminosity: The backside of Kravis Center, and in foreground, the all-glass Kravis Living Room. Breathtaking luminosity: The backside of Kravis Center, and in foreground, the all-glass Kravis Living Room.

 Claremont McKenna College has been awarded LEED® Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council for its award-winning Kravis Center, a five-level academic and administrative facility that serves as the western gateway to campus. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings. The 162,000 square-foot Kravis Center, which was dedicated in October 2011, provides space for five of the College's research institutes, offices for faculty, admissions, and financial aid, classrooms, seminar rooms, an underground parking structure with 60 spaces (including for low emitting and fuel efficient vehicles), outdoor courtyards, and “green roof” spaces that give professors and students flexibility to host classes and meetings outside.

The Kravis Center achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for students/residents, staff, and the larger community.

As part of Master Planning efforts undertaken by the College several years ago, “The Kravis Center exemplifies the College’s physical evolution, and commitment to sustainability, as well to developing world-class facilities for students and staff,” said CMC President Pamela B. Gann. “So it is with great pleasure that we now also have our first, LEED-Gold designation.”

The Kravis Center was designed by renowned Rafael Viňoly

Architects with LEED-Gold attributes in mind. The actual certification process, through an independent, two-year review, uses a categorized score card in which credits are given for meeting very particular, defined “green” criteria. Kravis Center’s total score was 47, “well above the minimum 39 points it needed to qualify for Gold certification,” said Coomy Kadribegovic, who represented independent firm Davis Langdon in CMC’s certification process.

Of its many notable sustainable features, top of mind is the Center’s energy efficiency, she says, which uses radiant panel chill beams for heating and cooling.

“The Kravis Center also utilizes a tremendous amount of natural lighting,” she said. “By using low-emissivity glazing on the floor-to-ceiling windows, you really maximize the Southern California climate while minimizing electricity use.”

LEED certification of Gold was based on these as well as a number of other green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. Some of these features include:

• Open spaces (The building provides exemplary open-space)

• The campus supports local plants, wildlife, and reduces storm-water runoff and “heat island” effect (the term given to built-up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas)

• Water management: The building and site reduces storm-water runoff by 25 percent. Rain water is recycled through pavers that capture the water directly into the building’s drainage system

• Light pollution reduction: Fixtures minimize light pollution at nighttime

• Interior lighting automatically turns itself off at night during unoccupied hours to save energy and reduce light pollution

• High-efficiency plumbing (dual flush toilets and low-flow fixtures) reduces water usage

• The building’s cutting-edge, chilled beam cooling system, radiant ceiling panels, and small-duct ventilation system minimizes the HVAC equipment and air distribution

• Construction waste management: 75 percent of total waste (235.5 tons to date) was diverted from landfill as a result of recycling efforts during construction

• Indoor environmental quality: 90 percent of individual workstations have access to task lighting to reduce overhead lighting power

• 90 percent of spaces have daylight and views

Claremont McKenna College was previously awarded LEED Silver certification for Claremont Hall, the College’s newest residence hall. The building was renamed Crown Hall last spring, in recognition of alumnus-Trustee Steve Crown ’74, wife, Nancy, and the Crown family.

The Kravis Center, named in honor of Trustee Henry Kravis ’67 and Marie-Josée Kravis, is the winner of two design awards. (Watch its amazing construction and hear from the architect and others in this time-lapse introductory video.

In 2011, the Kravis Center won McGraw-Hill’s ENR magazine award for Best Higher Education/Research Project in the United States. Last year, the Los Angeles Business Council honored the building with an Education Award in the Private Education category, during the Los Angeles Architectural Awards ceremony. The event recognizes “cutting edge design in the Los Angeles region.” (View winning projects.)

“The real beginning of a building is not today,” Kravis Center principal/lead designer Rafael Viňoly said at the groundbreaking. “It’s the way in which the building is occupied, made part of the culture of the institution, and the way in which it grows with it.” Added Gann: “It’s going to create a defining architectural identity for generations to come, of teacher and scholars and students, and for our returning alumni.”


About the U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.,-based USCGB is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for our nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely

diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.

Buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year, making green building a source of significant economic and environmental opportunity. Greater building efficiency can meet 85% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.


The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation.

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