In keeping with Middlebury College's long-standing commitment to the environment, McCardell Bicentennial Hall incorporates a number of green building features.
Most evident to visitors is the architectural millwork, which is made from certified, sustainably-harvested timber, two-thirds of which is from small Vermont family woodlots. The lumber was milled to make maximum use of each log, which means that many so-called "defects" such as unusual grain patterns, knots, and the like—which actually add character to the wood—are on display. The floors in the corridor are finished with linoleum (made from vegetable oil) rather than sheet vinyl. The gypsum wallboard is made partially from recycled material, and the roof deck is made from recycled plastic lumber.
Less obvious, but even more important, are energy-saving features such as a heat-recovery loop to extract winter warmth or summer cooling from the building air before it is exhausted to the outside; extensive use of natural lighting; motion detectors in every room to turn off the lights should the room become unoccupied; high-efficiency LED and fluorescent lighting; and triple-glazed high-E windows.