The Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah announced that Lassonde Studios – a new five-story, student innovation space – has been awarded LEED Gold certification.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is the foremost program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

“We are proud to exceed our goals and achieve LEED Gold certification for Lassonde Studios,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, the executive director of the Lassonde Institute and an assistant dean at the David Eccles School of Business. “The building is not only a one-of-a-kind facility for student entrepreneurs. It is also a model for sustainable construction practices. We look forward to continued growth and recognition as one of the best places in the country for student entrepreneurs.”

The five-story, 160,000-square-foot Lassonde Studios building opened in 2016. The building is dedicated to supporting student entrepreneurship and innovation. The first floor features a 20,000-square-foot creation space with meeting space, cafe, tools, workshop and lounge areas. The upper four floors have bedrooms and living space for 400 residents. All students on campus are welcome to “live, create, launch” here.

Lassonde Studios has received international attention since it opened. It has won many awards and been featured by publications including The New York TimesBloomberg Businessweek and Fast Company. In 2017, Architectural Digest named Lassonde Studios one of the “9 Best New University Buildings Around the World.”

Numerous people and organizations have made the Lassonde Studios possible. Building partners include University of Utah Housing & Residential Education, Cannon Design, EDA Architects and Gramoll Construction.

Lassonde Studios achieved LEED certification for implementing practical and measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

LEED certification is based on a 110-point scale. Sixty points are required to achieve Gold certification. The certification ranks projects on categories including: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design, and Location & Transportation.

Here are some of the categories and qualities of Lassonde Studios that helped earn the project enough points to achieve Gold certification:

  • Sustainability Sites – The project demonstrates development density and community connectivity, and it provides easy access to alternative modes of transportation.
  • Water Efficiency – The site uses energy efficient landscaping through limited sod and drought tolerant plants. It also uses low-flow water fixtures.
  • Energy & Atmosphere – The building optimizes energy performance in ways including the use of LED for 100 percent of the lighting.
  • Materials & Resources – The project minimized construction waste and utilized recycled content in 21.2 percent of the building materials. Most of the recycled materials were used in the concrete structure.
  • Indoor Environmental Quality – The project used building materials and finishes that met quality standards.

“Lassonde Studios has been an incredible project to work on,” said Nick Lorenzo, of EDA Architects, who submitted the application for LEED certification. “The design and mission of this building are unlike any other. The LEED certification provides further evidence that we have created an incredible, state-of-the art building for student entrepreneurs to live, create and launch their ideas.”

Lassonde Studios joins many other buildings on the University of Utah campus with LEED certification. The first building on campus to receive LEED certification was the Spencer F. and Cleone P. Eccles Health Sciences Education Building in 2006. Since 2009, the state has required that all new public buildings achieve at least LEED Silver certification.

LEED is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 92,000 commercial and institutional projects are currently participating in LEED, comprising more than 19.3 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and more than 167 countries and territories.

“The work of innovative building projects such as Lassonde Studios is a fundamental driving force in transforming the way buildings are built, design and operated,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO, USGBC. “Buildings that achieve LEED certification are lowering carbon emissions, creating a healthier environment and reducing operating costs while prioritizing sustainable practices.”