Skip Navigation

College News

Science Building wins Emerald award from U.S. Green Building Council

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published May 30, 2017

The College of Lake County’s new Science Building, scheduled to open later this year and containing sustainable features ranging from solar panels to rainwater recovery, has received an exclusive Emerald Award for Building Innovation from the Illinois chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. The award was announced May 18 at the Illinois chapter's awards ceremony and fundraiser in Chicago.

CLC Science Building“We are honored to receive recognition from the nation's leading association representing environmentally sustainable buildings,” said CLC Interim President Dr. Rich Haney.

CLC received the award for unique sustainability approaches to a traditionally energy-intensive building type, according to Brian Imus, executive director of USGBC-Illinois.  

The three-story Science Building, designed by Chicago, Ill.-based Legat Architects, houses engineering and photonics labs on the first floor and chemistry labs on floors two and three.

“The Science Building represents CLC’s commitment to sustainability, while also serving as a teaching tool that supports the college’s curriculum and its emphasis on contributing to the green economy,” said Legat’s Principal-in-Charge of Higher Education Jeffrey Sronkoski.

Designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification standards, the 41,900-square-foot building includes the following features:

  • 187 photovoltaic solar panels providing 56 kw of electricity.
  • A 1,500-square-foot green roof that reduces rainwater runoff, reduces temperatures of the roof surface and extends the life of the roof by shielding it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. 
  • Geothermal heat exchange system, designed by the Chicago office of Affiliated Engineers, Inc. The system, consisting of 47 vertical wells located 500 feet underground, is projected to reduce energy costs by 20 to 50 percent.
  • LED lighting that is 30 percent more efficient than similar fluorescent lighting, lasts three times longer and contains no environmentally harmful components.
  • Living wall - An area up to 370 square feet covered with vegetation that cleans, humidifies and oxygenates indoor air.
  • Rainwater harvesting - Rooftop rainwater flows to an underground tank, where it is stored to provide water for flushing 12 toilets and urinals.
  • Daylight harvesting - South-facing windows, with external solar shades, are designed to maximize sunlight indoors during the winter and shade the rooms in the summer, all while reducing the need for interior electric lights.
  • Exterior grass that grows shorter and requires less maintenance than conventional grass, while reducing energy and labor costs. 

The Science Building is part of a $28.3 million Illinois Capital Development Board project that includes renovations of 25,000 square feet of space in the A Wing.

The award is the second “green” award that CLC has received in the last eight months. Last October, CLC was one of nine community colleges nationwide to receive a $10,000 Green Genome award from the American Association of Community Colleges. The award recognized CLC for incorporating sustainability into its governance structure and overall college culture, said David Husemoller, CLC sustainability manager.

CLC’s other sustainable accomplishments over the past six years include the following:

  • The college added sustainability to its strategic goals and in 2012 adopted a sustainable master plan under the direction of President Jerry Weber. The $163 million plan includes not only the new Science Building but classroom technology upgrades, renovation of core buildings, a new main lobby and centralized student services. The plan also includes the new Café Willow, a new chemistry lab and green roof at the Southlake Campus in Vernon Hills and a planned major expansion of the Lakeshore Campus in Waukegan, also designed to achieve LEED Platinum certification. The new café and core renovations were designed to LEED Gold standards, using the geothermal exchange system for efficient cooling and heating.
  • The new Café Willow features food grown on the campus learning farm. The food returns to the farm in the form of scrap compost.
  • Hot water is heated by rooftop solar thermal panels, and lighting across the campus is being retrofitted with LED fixtures.
  • Bioswales in parking lots use native plants to filter rainwater flowing off of the asphalt before it enters Willow Lake on campus.
  • CLC also has greened its curriculum with sustainability-related classes, certificates and degrees.

“Our goal is to make CLC a living laboratory of sustainability that will inspire not only faculty, staff and students, but also the larger community,” Husemoller said. Learn more about CLC’s sustainable efforts at