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By Bryan Hay

Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center has received LEED Platinum certification, the highest recognition awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council for sustainable, energy-efficient design and construction.

Opened at the start of fall semester and dedicated Sept. 30, Rockwell was designed to reduce energy consumption by 45% below the LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) baseline. 

Setting a new standard for the campus, it supports Lafayette’s commitment to serve as a regional and national leader in reducing energy consumption and is an important component of the Climate Action Plan, which charts a path for the College to achieve climate neutrality by 2035.

Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center

The LEED program determines a building’s environmental footprints by rating its design, construction, and operations. A building receives Platinum certification if it scores over 80 of 100 possible credit points.

“In the design and construction industry, earning Platinum certification is the equivalent of a perfect or near-perfect SAT score,” says Meghan Madeira ’98, director of Lafayette’s capital projects. 

“From the start, we set out to achieve an energy-consumption benchmark far below that of peer science buildings,” she says. “Rockwell is a bigger, more intense program than most Platinum buildings. It’s the first Platinum academic science center in Pennsylvania and probably one of only a handful across the country.”

Rockwell’s performance metrics include:

  • 73% reduction in energy usage compared to a typical academic science building. 
  • 70% of the building’s electricity is supplied by renewable energy. 
  • 41% reduction in building water usage. Water reduction is equal to 3,583 bathtubs per year of water.
  • 100% of the roof area is reflective to reduce the urban heat island.
  • 30% of the site is vegetated or pedestrian open space. 
  • 88% of construction waste was recycled. 
  • 20% of building materials were made from recycled content.
  • 23% of building materials were harvested, extracted, and manufactured within 500 miles of Easton.
  • 83% of wood on the project was sustainably harvested.
  • 95% of the building has views to the exterior.
  • Bird-safe glazing strategy receiving LEED credit and in conformance with American Bird Conservancy recommendations.

Named for Trustee Emeritus S. Kent Rockwell ’66, who made the lead gift, the sciences center was a key component of the College’s Live Connected, Lead Change fundraising campaign, which concluded in December 2018. 

Rockwell offers a signature space for the biology and computer science departments and environmental science and environmental studies programs. It also houses the Bradbury Dyer, III ’64 Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Daniel and Heidi ’91 Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education, Office of Sustainability, and additional space for neuroscience. The $75 million five-story building is the largest capital project in Lafayette’s history. 

Rockwell encourages collaboration between students and professors among the three buildings. A café and additional indoor and outdoor study spaces also are available for student and faculty use. The facility has fundamentally changed how Lafayette combines the liberal arts and sciences by providing spaces for interdisciplinary engagement and room for expansion as the College grows.

The glass, brick, and steel building, offering sweeping views of campus and College Hill, was designed by Boston-based architectural firm Payette, which was instrumental in guiding the design to the highest certification level. Turner Construction Co. constructed the building and worked diligently to earn the necessary construction credits.  

With Rockwell’s Platinum certification, the Lafayette campus now has two LEED-certified buildings. In 2013, Grossman House for Global Perspectives received Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.


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