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Natural History Building: LEED Gold (Completed)

Recent Project Updates


The Natural History Building was certified LEED Gold on January 29, 2019.  The project achieved 61 out of 110 points on the LEED v2009 New Construction scorecard, with a significant number of points from the Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, and Materials & Resources categories.

The Natural History Building was originally built at the University of Illinois in 1892. For this renovation, the entire interior was gutted and rebuilt and was reopened for the Fall 2017 term. The building houses research labs and classrooms for the School of Earth, Society, and Environment as well as the Department of Geology, Department of Geography and GIS, and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Achievements of the Natural History Building renovation project include:

  • 76% of construction waste was recycled; part of this included reusing material removed from the building.
  • 90% of the existing building structure was reused.
  • 28% of the building’s materials were manufactured with recycled materials. Additionally, renewable materials like bamboo flooring were used and 41% of total building materials and products were produced or extracted locally.
  • Overall building water usage was reduced by 20% and potable water usage was reduced by 41%.
  • 79% of nonroof hardscape surfaces associated with this project exceed a minimum solar reflectivity index, reducing heat island effect.
  • Water efficient landscaping was installed eliminating the need for outdoor water use after the first 18 months post-construction.
  • Energy performance was optimized with energy cost savings of 21%.
  • No CFC-based refrigerants are present in HVAC or fire suppression systems serving the building.
  • The project has a two-year agreement to purchase renewable power for 70% of the building’s electricity demands.
  • Low-emitting VOC materials were used for all adhesives, sealants, paints, and coatings used in the project.
  • Thermal comfort was prioritized in the design - the building is in compliance with ASHRAE 55-2004 standards and thermal controls are provided for 100% of building occupants and in 100% of multi-occupant spaces.

No description has been provided yet.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Thomas Keller

    Project Leader:

    Charlie Saville

    Team Members:

    • Brian Huckstep

    Prior Contacts:

    • Fred Hahn


  • Started March 1, 2014
    Started by University of Illinois
    Completed January 29, 2019
    Completed by USGBC


Project Location(s)

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