OHEC Green Building

OHEC is LEED gold

Johnson County Community College has received gold certification for its earth-friendly construction of the Olathe Health Education Center, exceeding its promise of a LEED-certified silver building.

The LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a nationally recognized green building certification system supervised by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

In 2008, JCCC President Terry Calaway signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, promising that all new construction at JCCC would meet the dictates of a LEED-certified silver building.

A silver certification is earned by scoring at least 50 points in areas such as water and energy usage, materials used in construction and environmental quality inside the building. OHEC received 67 points, earning it the higher certification of gold.

“This system is a means to motivate people to build better buildings,” said Jay Antle, director, Center for Sustainability at JCCC. “And we built a better building.”

OHEC is the first JCCC building to be LEED certified.

The USGBC awarded the maximum number of points allowable for OHEC’s energy use. The building has a geothermal heat pump, motion sensors, light sensors and plenty of windows for daylight, all adding up to a 48 percent reduction in the cost of energy in a comparable new building constructed without these sustainability measures.

“We incorporated a variety of technologies to show people from the community what can be done,” Antle said.

OHEC also busts the myth of green building being overly expensive, Antle said. OHEC was finished $1 million under budget, and energy-saving measures will save money over the life of the building, he pointed out.

“Eventually, these types of [sustainable] practices are going to be normal building procedures. We’re just moving that all along,” he said.

The building at 21201 W. 152nd St. in Olathe sits just west of the Olathe Medical Center and houses the practical nursing and health occupation programs. It also offers general education courses.