The U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit trade organization that promotes sustainability in building design and operation, has certified four new Westmont College buildings as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold.

The LEED designations highlight the sustainable construction and energy-saving systems used at Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics, the Adams Center for the Visual Arts, the central plant and the observatory.

Randy Jones, Westmont’s director of campus planning, said the college has always been committed to sustainable construction and energy-savings methods.

“We were pleased by the LEED Gold certifications,” he said. “It shows the community that we are serious about being good stewards of the environment. These buildings are very efficient and will have many long-term, positive impacts on the campus for years to come.”

Instead of installing huge mechanical systems, Jones said architect Ken Radtkey wanted to design a more natural system.

“Our points aren’t based on a design utilizing an exceptionally technical system,” Jones said. “In fact, all the buildings have many spaces that are naturally ventilated and lighted.”

The Green Building Council’s praise isn’t solely focused on the buildings. The college scored points for its innovative design and development of the site.

“It’s a program that sets individual buildings into a larger campus system, incorporating native plants and water-efficient landscaping so that everything works together,” Jones said.

Westmont's Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics encompasses 48,000 square feet of classrooms, offices and laboratories.

Westmont’s Winter Hall for Science and Mathematics encompasses 48,000 square feet of classrooms, offices and laboratories. (Westmont College photo)

The analysis noted the college’s restoration of habitats, capturing of stormwater and reduction of light pollution. Workers also recycled construction waste and other materials. The college chose carpets, paints and adhesives there are environmentally-friendly.

“All those things make Westmont a unique place,” Jones said. “This is a reflection of simply taking care of the land. It’s not a burden — it’s something we’re delighted to do.”

Others are beginning to take notice of the green buildings. Jones spoke to Westmont’s student-led environmental club. Plaques soon will be installed at the buildings, calling attention to the awards.

“Because we have four LEED buildings on campus, some design professionals are interested in using them as teaching tools and have asked to come and tour the campus,” Jones said.

Winter Hall is a three-level structure that encompasses 48,000 square feet of classrooms, offices and laboratories. The center of the structure is open so natural light can cascade down to all levels.

The Adams Center, which houses the Westmont Museum of Art, is a three-level structure nestled into the hillside just below the library. The 31,000-square-foot building extends from west to east, allowing the classrooms, studios and offices to be naturally lighted and ventilated. Both Winter and Adams feature landscaped roof decks.

Westmont President Gayle Beebe and the Board of Trustees dedicated Winter Hall and the Adams Center for the Visual Arts with ceremonies May 5-6.

— Scott Craig is the media relations manager for Westmont College.