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Sabin Hall renovation another milestone in UNI sustainability

August 13, 2013

Eric O'Brien, coordinator, Office of Sustainability, 319-273-7207,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- The University of Northern Iowa's Sabin Hall renovation was awarded LEED® Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The Sabin Hall renovation LEED-certified project is the first LEED Gold level project on campus.

"The Sabin Hall renovation project has been a tremendous success story of cooperation among academic and operational units at UNI," Said Eric O'Brien, university sustainability coordinator. "This common vision preserved historic qualities of Sabin Hall, while enhancing the academic environment and creating a more efficient building."

The urgency of USGBC's mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before. The Sabin Hall renovation LEED-certified project, with support from UNI, Brooks Borg Skiles Architecture Engineering LLP and Larson Construction Co. Inc., serves as a prime example of what can be accomplished in regards to preserving existing facilities and reviving them into sustainable places of learning.

The Sabin Hall renovation LEED-certified project is just a single piece of UNI's progression towards a sustainable campus. In 2012, UNI's Multimodal Transportation Center received an award from the Central States Region (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma) American Institute of Architects (AIA). The AIA Central States Region Awards are held annually to encourage and recognize excellence in architecture.

The UNI Multimodal Transportation Center added more than 490 vehicle parking spaces at a central location adjacent to campus for off-campus residents and visitors, and provided access to bicycle lockers and the university transit system, Panther Shuttle and the Metropolitan Transit Authority routes, which serve the cities of Cedar Falls and Waterloo.

The parking ramp is also supported by an array of solar panels that result in a net-zero electricity use for the facility. Making it one of the first net-zero buildings in the state of Iowa. 

Looking even further back, in 1992, UNI finished construction on Iowa's first modern sustainable building, the Center for Energy and Environmental Education (CEEE).

According to USGBC's project directory, there are 139 LEED-certified projects in the state of Iowa. Of those, 46 are certified at the gold level.

In the process of becoming LEED certified are UNI's new student-housing facilities, Panther Village. The first phase opened to students in the fall of 2012, and the second phase will be finished by the end of this August.

For more information about LEED projects and certification, visit

For more information about UNI's ongoing sustainability efforts, visit