Following an efficiency and renewable energy renovation, the president’s house at 3 South Street has been certified LEED platinum by the U.S. Green Buildings Council.

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. – The Middlebury College president’s house at 3 South Street has earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC). LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used third-party verification for green buildings, certifying buildings that promote sustainability, resource conservation, and human health. Platinum is the highest designation of LEED certification.

Built in 1854, the president’s house is one of just a few Carpenter Gothic designs in the town of Middlebury. In December 2014, the College completed a major renovation on the 6,000 square-foot building, which hosts numerous meetings and social functions. The renovations featured many energy improvements, including installation of geothermal wells for heating and cooling and the installation of a solar array, which provides 20 percent of the building’s electrical needs.

“This project took an old house that was a real energy user and transformed it into a model of efficiency,” said Steve Smith of Smith Alvarez Sienkiewycz Architects, which oversaw the renovation.

To achieve LEED certification, building projects must meet numerous requirements across seven categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and regional priority credits. The president’s house fared well, notably receiving full points for optimizing energy performance and for on-site renewable energy.

To maximize the building’s efficiency, contractors also replaced windows and doors; water-proofed the basement; replaced electrical, lighting, and mechanical systems; and added new insulation.

Middlebury now has five LEED-certified buildings on campus, including the president’s house, Franklin Environmental Center, the Squash Center, and InSite, a house built by students for the EPA’s 2013 Solar Decathlon competition – all of which are platinum certified. The fifth building, Virtue Field House, is certified as LEED gold, the second highest designation.

The president’s house is Middlebury’s second renovation of an historic building to earn LEED platinum. The first was in 2007, when the College completed renovations on the Franklin Environmental Center, an 1875 Vermont farmhouse that became a model for adaptive reuse of historic buildings.

“With historic buildings, we always try to integrate new systems without changing the character of the house,” said Smith. “With the president’s house, I believe we struck a good balance between new and old.”