Talley Student Union Achieves LEED Gold in Operations and Maintenance


Summary: NC State’s Talley Student Union is the first campus building to earn two certifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.


For Talley Student Union, a second certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is twice as nice, especially when it’s gold. In April, NC State’s student union became the first campus building to earn two LEED credentials for sustainability ‒ a certification at the Silver level for design and construction in 2015 and the latest certification at the Gold level for operations and maintenance.


To achieve operations and maintenance certification, a building earns points for efforts in five categories: water, energy, transportation, waste and human experience. “We hope that we are able to be campus leaders when it comes to sustainability,” said Tim Hogan, director of NC State Student Centers. “We take very seriously our responsibility…to be good stewards for NC State, specifically for Talley Student Union.”


Achieving the certification has been a team effort between students, NC State’s Facilities Division and NC State Student Centers. The process began in Fall 2016 with a unique interdisciplinary course called LEED Lab. About 30 students spent the semester evaluating whether Talley could achieve an operations and maintenance certification. The students’ evaluation included transportation surveys, an energy audit, air quality measurements and a waste audit.


“This was a huge undertaking with a huge team working to accomplish this, most importantly the students in the LEED Lab course. They did the research, asked the questions, pulled together options and made the proposal,” said TJ Willis, associate director of NC State Student Centers. During their final presentation, students said Talley was performing as a LEED Gold building and provided specific recommendations on how to continue boosting Talley’s sustainability score based on discussions with maintenance staff and vendors.


“The students did an amazing job bringing the expertise from their diverse fields to the project, focusing on how Talley could increase their efficiencies to achieve a second certification,” said Traci Rose Rider, a research associate in the College of Design and one of the course’s co-instructors. “This is a great accomplishment and something that our students can be proud that they were a part of.”


An electronic plaque and dashboard in the Talley lobby tracks the building’s latest sustainability inputs, providing accountability for continued excellence in sustainable operations and maintenance. “This certification will help to remind students, staff and visitors of NC State’s commitment to sustainability but also show how they can contribute to the process,” Willis said.