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Graphic by Jin Chen

Atop the Diana Center, a green roof will provide social space and resources for biology students. The building itself has been constructed to be environmentally sustainable.

Barnard's new Diana Center may be bright orange at the moment, but planners and architects plan to make sure the building "goes green." When the Diana opens in 2010, it will follow in the footsteps of a number of recently renovated Columbia structures opting for sustainability, as it has a certified silver rating from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The newly renovated Columbia Faculty House was also LEED certified. "Barnard is really conscientious of our community and also our environment," said Giselle Léon, BC '10 and vice president of communications of the Barnard Student Government Association, said. Léon is also a member of the Diana Opening Committee. The Diana will include a host of environmentally friendly features, such as a daylight dimming system and recycled building materials. Perhaps the most visually striking feature of the Diana Center will be the green planted roof, which can help to reduce storm runoff, extend the life of the roofing membrane, and reduce the heat load of the building. The roof will also provide an additional social area for students as well as resources for the biology department. The Diana's plumbing system will include low-flow faucets and fixtures to reduce water consumption in addition to a high-efficiency condensing boiler that will heat the building. This system will use a heat exchanger to capture heat that would otherwise be lost. Automated shades in some of the spaces will reduce the heat load of the building, and these motorized shades will be connected to photo sensors and will adjust according to daylight conditions. Although the glass facade of the Diana does not seem to match the rest of Barnard's architectural aesthetic, administrators say it will provide practical benefits. The use of low-emissivity glass will reflect heat back to its source so that in the summer, heat will be prevented from entering the building, and in the winter, heat will be retained. Skylights and abundant windows will provide natural light throughout the building, reducing the amount of energy spent on artificial lighting. Barnard is currently working on improving the facades of many of the older buildings in an effort to reduce heat losses across campus. More extensive recycling centers were also added in several locations last year to allow students to safely dispose of materials such as light bulb and batteries. Vice president of administration and capital planning Lisa Gamsu said that these measures come at a cost, though new construction technologies have reduced the price of sustainable building. "It's more expensive, but it's not significantly more expensive," she said. The greatest expense, she explained, is the process of getting certified by LEED, which requires very detailed documentation and is usually taken care of by a hired consultant. New York State does its part to offset the financial difficulties of developers who choose to make their projects sustainable. Barnard received an initiative award of $135,676 from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority for the inclusion of green features in the Diana. Although this funding does not nearly cover the Diana's costs, it is part of an ongoing effort in New York to encourage builders to look towards sustainability.

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