Durant Hall restoration earns LEED Silver certification

One of the campus’s oldest and most beautiful buildings, Durant Hall, was both the site and focus of a campus gathering Thursday, celebrating its LEED Silver certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED Silver plaque

Plaque installed outside second-floor lobby.

“We wanted to say that we could do both a green building and a historical restoration,” Vice Provost Cathy Koshland told those gathered to dedicate a LEED plaque honoring sustainable features of Durant’s recent top-to-bottom renovation. “I love this old building,” she added.

Ed Denton, vice chancellor for facilities services, concurred. “This was a keeper,” he said.

Designed by architect John Galen Howard, Durant Hall was built in 1911 as the original site of the Boalt Law School and later housed the East Asian Library. Since the renovation was completed last year, the building has provided a campus home to deans and staff of the College of Letters & Science.

 Many aspects of the restoration project contributed to its LEED certification. Eighty-eight percent of waste materials left over from construction — nearly 310 tons — were diverted from landfills and recycled. Twenty-two percent of the materials used came from within 500 miles of campus. Paints, sealants and other indoor materials were selected for minimal “off-gassing” of indoor pollutants, contributing to a healthy indoor environment.

Restored Beaux Arts "lamp of learning"

Beaux Arts "lamp of learning," retooled for compact-fluorescent bulbs.

Durant’s new mechanical and electrical systems exceed California’s mandated energy-efficiency standards by 17 percent and garnered a financial rebate of $27,000 through the PG&E Savings by Design program. Dual-flush toilets, low-flow urinals and low-flow/automatic lavatory faucets will mean a 40 percent reduction in potable water use.

While incorporating 21st-century sustainability and accessibility features, “we tried to take a light touch and let the historic pieces be clear,” noted architect Paul Davison of Mark Cavagnero Associates.

Throughout the building, for instance, original doorknobs and locks were retooled to work with modern keys. Original Beaux Arts-style  “lamps of learning,” designed by Howard, were re-engineered to accommodate energy-efficient bulbs.

LEED (short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized green-building certification system. Durant Hall is the first major capital project on the central campus to achieve this distinction. Other campus LEED-certified projects including the Haste Street Child Care Center, restoration of the Clark Kerr Campus and University Village Housing in Albany.

Second-floor renovation features gradient-opacity glass partitions, to create office space while preserving a sense of the room's original dimensions.

Renovated second-floor lobby incorporates elements of the old and new.

More information:

Details on green features of Durant Hall renovation (PDF)
• Durant renovation slideshow (on Mark Cavagnero Associates website)