Renovation of Columbia Engineering Data Science Institute Space at Mudd Hall awarded LEED Gold

The new Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science space for Data Science, on the fourth and fifth floors of Mudd Hall, has earned LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) under the Interior Design and Construction rating system.

LEED, or “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design,” is the nation’s most prominent program for the design, construction, and operation of green buildings.

The space, renovated from the former Engineering Library, now provides offices for many of Columbia Engineering's faculty and others who are affiliated with the Data Science Institute.

June 11, 2018

“At Columbia, a core value of our approach to design and construction is environmental sustainability,” said David M. Greenberg, Executive Vice President of Columbia University Facilities and Operations. “The LEED Gold certification for the Data Science Institute @ Columbia Engineering space is an excellent example of this commitment. We thank our partners at the School of Engineering for their investment in the University’s environmental mission as we worked collectively to achieve this significant recognition.”

Construction and occupancy of the Data Science Institute @ Columbia Engineering space feature several sustainable elements that contributed to the LEED Gold rating:

  • Water-efficient plumbing fixtures reduce the potable water use prior to renovation by 40 percent 
  • Energy-efficient light fixtures reduce electric usage by 49 percent and also provide better quality light
  • Motion sensors control nearly 97 percent of lights in the new space, reducing energy demand by automatically turning off lights when rooms are not in use
  • Several measures enhance the quality of the indoor environment, including low-emitting adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring, wood products and furniture; installation of carbon dioxide sensors in densely occupied spaces; access to daylight from more than 95 percent of regularly occupied spaces; and more
  • For the renovation process, more than 96 percent of the on-site construction waste was diverted away from landfills, and almost 30 percent of building materials, by value, were manufactured using recycled materials

“With Columbia’s Sustainability Plan in mind, our project team took the time up front to build LEED requirements into our plans for renovation,” said Edward McArthur, Vice President of Capital Project Management. “This dedication and hard work has yielded another new sustainable space that all members of the University community can be proud of.”

The renovation created a new state-of-the-art open research environment with new walls, ceilings, lighting, laboratory casework, furniture and finishes. The project also added dry labs, faculty offices, conference rooms, administrative space and student study areas.

The open nature of the space contributes to a productive research environment as well.

“We are delighted that this renovation, which created an interdisciplinary research space bringing together faculty and students from all areas of data science within engineering and applied science, has garnered a LEED Gold, and sets a high standard for sustainable and functional design and construction,” said Mary C. Boyce, Dean of The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science. “As engineers, we applaud the successful efforts of Columbia Engineering, Columbia University Facilities and Operations, and its partners.”

"Data science is by its nature interdisciplinary and collaborative. Specialists in computation, statistics, and operations research work with experts in science and the humanities to find patterns and trends in data sets. So, just as the architects focused on "diffusing boundaries" within the physical space, we hope the space will encourage students and faculty to diffuse across disciplinary boundaries,” said Jeannette Wing, Avanessians Director of the Data Science Institute and Professor of Computer Science at Columbia.

The Sustainable Columbia Plan outlines a key goal to reduce energy-related emissions by 35 percent from 2017 to 2020.  Columbia also recently committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030. The space joins 12 other LEED-certified projects across the University.

“Building energy use makes up a substantial percentage of the University’s overall environmental impact,” said Jessica Prata, assistant vice president of Environmental Stewardship. “Our ongoing success in increasing LEED certifications is an important contribution to Columbia’s emissions reduction goals.”