Roy G. Cullen Receives LEED Gold Certification

e cullen

The University of Houston’s Roy G. Cullen building was transformed with a renovation that has garnered national recognition by being awarded a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification at the Gold level.

The recognition comes via the U.S. Green Building Council, which recognizes buildings and communities prioritizing sustainability in their design, construction, and operation.

The oldest building on campus, Roy Cullen, recently completed a complete interior renovation.

“Number one, the most sustainable thing that we did was preserve the building. We extended its life,” said University Architect Jim Taylor. “Number two, the interior design, all the lighting was enhanced. The HVAC, the heating and cooling system we use were upgraded. The materials were selected with regards towards sustainability, having recycled content being produced in a regional area from Houston.”

Jill Kurtz, a Principal and Director of Building Sciences & Sustainability at Page, the architectural firm that assisted with the project, added that they chose materials from manufacturers that were transparent about their environmental and health impact.

Additional steps taken with sustainability top of mind was recycling 85 percent of construction waste instead of sending it to a landfill. Even the exterior of the building received an upgrade with new, energy-efficient windows.

The single-pane glass was replaced with insulated high-performance glazing that allows sunlight to pass through while reflecting a large proportion of the sun’s heat, which reduces the energy demand of the building.

The Roy Cullen renovations were done with LEED in mind. To that end, Page created an energy model for the project that could predict and estimate how implementing strategies could save energy.

“The energy model helped inform us where was the right place to put additional insulation or where we could invest those dollars elsewhere,” said Kurtz.

Above all, Taylor and Kurtz said the number one job was to preserve the Roy Cullen building and with the renovations, Taylor estimates it will extend the operating life of the Roy Cullen building by 15–20 years.