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February 4, 2010


The University of Maine at Fort Kent today completed a $1.4 million renovation of Powell Hall; a project which incorporates many energy-savings components that are expected to help it achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for the 45-year-old former dormitory.

UMFK officials and the project’s architects, Port City Architecture of Portland, Maine, detailed the steps taken, and the checklist followed, throughout the course of the seven-month-long project to improve Powell Hall’s energy efficiency and sustainability, leading to LEED certification.
The University, working in consultation with a LEED consultant, developed renovations in several categories, resulting in the energy savings, or areas of sustainability:
Energy savings were achieved through a number of means in the renovation of the 1965-era building:
·         By optimizing the energy performance of the building, it was made 14 percent more efficient than a typical office building
·         By enabling the building’s heat source to be turned off during summer months through a design using an innovative heat pump system
·         By utilizing heat pumps, which use a combination of refrigeration, outside air, and electricity, the building is able to operate at times with 300 percent greater efficiency
·         Electricity for the building will be derived 70 percent from renewable sources, using a combination of hydro and wind energy, as a standard offer from the utility, and through UMFK’s purchase of renewable energy certificates
Additionally, the construction site around Powell Hall is slated to be restored in the spring with a new garden, utilizing native plantings. The garden was designed with input from the student ecology committee; the Center for Rural Sustainable Development; and the campus’ Facilities Management office. The restored area will provide a conservation easement of protected open space on the campus.
Locally-harvested lumber, sourced from a Masardis, Maine lumber mill, was used in the renovation of Powell Hall.
Other areas of energy efficiency or sustainability achieved during renovation included: a 30 percent reduction in water usage; the reuse of100 percent of all load-bearing walls in the building; a 10 percent use of locally-harvested or salvaged materials; 24-percent of all materials used in the construction have recycled content; and a 50-percent reduction in waste diverted to landfills.
UMFK has submitted an application to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) seeking 42 credits, or Gold-level LEED certification. The actual certification level it receives will be based upon the number of points awarded and the successful completion of all prerequisites.
LEED certification is recognized as the standard for measuring a building’s sustainability. The achievement of LEED certification is the best way to demonstrate that a building project truly is "green."
The LEED green building rating system was developed and is administered by the USGBC, a Washington D.C.-based, nonprofit coalition of building industry leaders. The system is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability, reduce the negative environmental impacts of buildings, and improve occupant health and well-being.
Funds for the Powell Hall renovations came from a voter-approved 2007 statewide bond issue for interior and exterior building renovations, improvements and additions at all public university campuses.
The contractor for the renovation was Devoe General Constructors of Eagle Lake, Maine.
UMFK was an early signer of the national American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment, which emphasizes that colleges and universities across the nation must exercise leadership in their communities and throughout society by modeling ways to eliminate global warming emissions, and by providing the knowledge and the educated graduates to achieve climate neutrality. 
UMFK completed the first review of its carbon footprint, as part of that national commitment, in 2008.