Kent State’s Heer and Harbourt Halls Achieve LEED Gold Certification Heer and Harbourt halls on the Kent Campus have been recognized as Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certified buildings

Heer and Harbourt halls on the Kent Campus have been recognized as Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) Gold certified buildings.

Harbourt HallHeer Hall is home to the Division of Human Resources; Office of Academic Personnel; and the Research, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness office. Harbourt Hall houses Facilities Planning and Operations, the Office of the University Architect and several other administrative offices.

LEED is a rating system that comes from the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. The rating system has prerequisites, but after those are met, buildings can earn additional points to earn certification. There are four levels of certification: LEED certified, which is the most basic, silver, gold and platinum.

“The goal of the LEED rating system is to shift the construction industry to using more sustainable products,” says Melanie Knowles, sustainability manager in Kent State’s Facilities Planning and Operations. “Energy efficiency is a huge portion of it, as well as water efficiency, indoor air quality and access to transportation. The university made a commitment that all of our new construction and renovations will be certified at silver level or higher.”

Similarly designed Heer and Harbourt halls are located near each other on Loop Road. Knowles says that silver certification was the goal for the buildings, but both ended up receiving gold.

The buildings were former residence halls that have been completely renovated.

“Through the renovation, these buildings were given a second life,” says Michael Bruder, executive director of facilities, planning and design in the Office of the University Architect. “They had come to the end of their useful life as dormitories and have been updated and transformed into modern, efficient office buildings benefiting the campus.”

Heer HallBruder says Harbourt and Heer halls feature innovative heating and air conditioning through a variable refrigerant system that operates with low energy consumption.  In addition, the buildings use daylighting and occupancy sensors to reduce electricity use for lighting. The buildings also have lockers and showers to encourage staff to ride bikes to work. 

“The interior materials were selected for low VOC content, high-recycled content and rapidly renewable material content,” says Bruder. “By not demolishing the buildings, a considerable amount of material was diverted from construction landfills and repurposed.”

Knowles says that a 75 percent diversion from the landfill is a requirement on the Kent Campus.

“Construction waste management is one of the points you can earn in LEED. Construction waste is not taken to a landfill but to a site where workers separate, reuse and recycle as much of it as they can and document the process,” Bruder says.

Knowles says that making the buildings energy efficient is going to save the university money every year.

“LEED certification really helps us have a better building,” says Knowles. “We build the buildings ourselves, and we’re going to own them and operate them for decades. We want them to be healthy buildings so that our faculty, staff and students are in a good environment.”

New construction and renovation as part of the Foundations of Excellence initiative will have several
LEED registered buildings, which means the university intends to follow through with certification. Those buildings include the new Center for Architecture and Environmental Design, the Aeronautics and Technology Building and the Center for the Visual Arts, which will house School of Art programs in the renovated Art Annex and Van Deusen Halls. 

“LEED certification is important because as a system, it establishes a common understanding of sustainability goals and achievements in the built environment,” says Bruder. “The various levels of certification are a ‘short hand’ language expressing the level of commitment and success a specific building has achieved in terms of environmental design. The LEED Gold certifications at Harbourt and Heer Halls demonstrate the university’s commitment to sustainability.”

For more information about LEED, visit

For more information about sustainability initiatives at Kent State, visit

POSTED: Monday, September 1, 2014 - 12:00am
UPDATED: Monday, February 8, 2016 - 3:29pm
Human Resources