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Dining Hall awarded for environmental design

By Stephen Underwood
On April 29, 2013

UConn's McMahon Dining Hall was recently awarded a LEED Gold certification for demonstrating leadership in energy and environmental design on March 21, 2013.
The certification comes after a major renovation featuring a 5,000 square foot addition to the 14,000 square foot dining facility. The renovations include greater cuisine choices, use of low emitting adhesives in construction, recycling of buildable materials, high efficiency lighting and appliances, large window space and a decrease in water usage.
The renovations were designed by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates (PCA) with the intention of converting the 1960's cafeteria into a more modern dining and gathering area while also being more efficient and sustainable.
Due to these renovations and the efficiency in construction, McMahon Dining Hall was also the recipient of an award by the State of Connecticut for energy efficiency. UConn won one of two First Honors at the "Power of Change Award" ceremony which gave a total of seven energy efficient awards to projects in the state of Connecticut. The Dining Hall was recognized with the "Most Energy Efficient Top Building Award."
According to the "Power of Change Award" website, "The Power of Change Award celebrates the best achievements and innovations in energy efficiency across Connecticut's state and municipal buildings."
The award, sponsored by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation, Hampshire Foundation and the Common Sense Fund, "recognizes and advances Connecticut's leadership in energy efficiency."
C. Dennis Pierce, Director of Dining Services at UConn, commented on receiving the LEED Gold certification and how it came as a bit of a surprise.
"When the McMahon renovations were proposed the university had a standard of maintaining LEED Silver in construction and building which meant a certain degree of efficiency had to be reached. The project then engaged a third party that oversees the construction and looks at the design, electric efficiency, windows, lighting, kitchen equipment, etc.... After final inspection we found out that we had maintained a LEED Gold Standard... Which of course made us all very excited," Pierce said.
Pierce also mentioned the "Power of Change Award" and its significance in maintaining energy efficiency standards at UConn.
"We then applied for the newly created "Power of Change Award" in Connecticut, which gets a group of distinguished individuals that review all the entries and look at the merits, cost cutting techniques, efficiency, and environmental impact of the projects. McMahon Dining Hall was then decided to be given top honors as a leader in energy efficiency since it met their qualifications....We were rewarded at the State Capital and many people came up to us and told us how much they liked what we had done and congratulated us."

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