Shanahan Center Lauded for Green Design

In a world of finite resources, forward-thinking organizations must embrace new practices that reduce their impact on the environment. Harvey Mudd College recognizes that a sustainable approach to development helps ensure ample resources for future generations.

The College’s most recently completed construction project, the R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning, has earned a City of Claremont 2013 Excellence in Design Award in the category of “Sustainable Development.” With features such as a living roof, water-efficient plumbing and landscaping and innovative bubble decking—a building method that uses significantly less concrete by replacing it with hollow plastic balls—the Shanahan Center caught the commission’s eye.

“We added sustainable development after the year 2000 as sustainability in construction started to get more attention,” said Joanne Hwang, associate planner for Claremont. “The city has its own sustainability plan and committee and takes it very seriously.”

The Shanahan Center’s many green features earned it a Gold rating under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system, a rubric designed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to encourage sustainable construction and operational practices among builders and building owner/operators. The LEED rating system scores new projects, restorations and renovations on a scale of 100 possible points, taking into account water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design.

“The R. Michael Shanahan Center for Teaching and Learning incorporates state-of-the-art design with best practices in sustainability,” said Harvey Mudd College Director of Capital Projects James Hawley. “Future development projects at the College, including an upcoming new residence hall, will continue to use innovative sustainable practices.”

Claremont’s annual Excellence in Design Awards, established in 1981, recognize recently completed projects that best reflect the city’s standards of design excellence. Nominations are open to the public, and any exterior construction project completed in the previous year is eligible. The city’s Architectural Commission votes on submitted projects at a public meeting.

Other 2013 awardees included Petisco’s Restaurant (Renovation/Restoration), the Margaret Fowler Memorial Garden (Restoration and Landscaping), the Niero and Resch Residence (Renovation) and the Schuster and Wessler Residence (New Construction and Landscaping).