The University of Maryland’s Wye Oak Building received the 11th annual Wintergreen Award for Excellence in Green Building, a contest hosted by the U.S. Green Building Council Maryland Chapter.
The Wye Oak Building won the award in the Non-Profit/Publicly Funded category and is also LEED Silver certified, said William Olen, the university’s executive director of design and construction. However, this is the first year any building on this campus has won a Wintergreen Award.
The building was completed in January 2014 after about nine months of construction, Olen said. In addition to its LEED certification, the Wye Oak Building was the start of a pilot program recently brought to the campus called the Green Globes certification process, Olen said.
“Beyond just Silver LEED certification, we looked at the Green Globes certification process because it is quicker,” Olen said. “There is more opportunity to do more sustainable things and to look at energy at a higher level.”
Green Globes has third-party professional assessors who conduct ongoing building evaluations throughout the project, according to its website. These regular assessments contribute to a faster process overall, Olen said.
“The Green Globes process is a little simpler,” Olen said. “You get quicker feedback, it’s quicker turnaround and you can actually have more input on the project itself, especially how it’s designed and operated.”
The Wye Oak Building is unique for many reasons other than its contribution to the Green Globes pilot program at this university, said Sandra Dykes, an associate director of general services in the department of building and landscape services.
“It’s one of the first buildings that Facilities Management built for themselves, and it happened at a time when we were able to bring in some environmentally sensitive designs,” Dykes said. “It’s a lovely building.”
Junior environmental science and technology major Lindsay Edwards said she hopes the Wye Oak Building is not the last of the university’s steps toward environmentally conscious construction.
“It is amazing that the Wye Oak Building won the Wintergreen Award. It’s one of the most important things we can do here,” Edwards said. “So many of the buildings at University of Maryland use so much energy.”
Harry Teabout III, executive director of building and landscape maintenance, said the Wintergreen Award is “a way to publicize the people that are doing sustainable stuff, that are [constructing] LEED-certified buildings, to give them more recognition.”
Olen said new projects on the campus are keeping green energy in mind, such as the Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science and Innovation.
“Instead of going through the USGBC LEED process, we’re going through the Green Globe process,” Olen said. “Since Wye Oak was pilot and the state has adopted and allowed alternate certification for sustainability for the buildings other than just USGBC, we’ve taken that initiative and started this second project.”