Rawls Building Awarded Gold LEED Green Certification

It is recognized for energy use, lighting, water, material use and other sustainable strategies.

The Rawls Building was completed in December 2011.

The Rawls Building was completed in December 2011.

Texas Tech announced Nov. 30 that the Rawls College of Business Building has been awarded LEED® Gold certification, established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute.

LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“This is the first of many successful initiatives in the supporting sustainability goals within the Texas Tech University System,” said Michael Molina, vice chancellor in Facilities Planning and Construction. “I am pleased that Texas Tech University along with our partners Parkhill Smith & Cooper, Broaddus & Associates, Lee Lewis Construction, Shah Smith & Associates and the countless other talented designers, engineers and tradesman worked so diligently in accomplishing the first LEED certified facility, especially at a Gold Level.”

The Rawls Building, which was completed in December 2011, achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water, LEED certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

“With each new LEED certified building, we get one step closer to USGBC’s vision of a sustainable built environment within a generation,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “As the newest member of the LEED family of green buildings, Texas Tech’s Rawls Building is an important addition to the growing strength of the green building movement.”

Meeting the Requirements

The windows in the Rawls Building block 40 to 60 percent of the sun to conserve energy.

The windows in the Rawls Building block 40 to 60 percent of the sun to conserve energy.

LEED certification of the building was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. Some of these features include:

  • 1,600 tons of the brick, concrete and masonry from Thompson and Gaston Halls, the original buildings on the site, were crushed and reused as fill to re-level the site where the building stands today.
  • The building saves 20 percent of energy and 23 percent of energy costs as well as 47 percent of water usage for a like-sized building not built to LEED standards.
  • To save transportation energy, supplies for the building came from a 500-mile-radius.
  • Windows block 40 to 60 percent of the sun to conserve energy.
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping, waterless urinals and low-flow toilets save water.
  • Designers used recycled materials in floors and countertops.
  • Throughout the building, the opportunity to recycle plastic, paper and aluminum pops up at nearly every turn.
  • At the new tobacco-free facility, smoking isn’t allowed within 25 feet of any door or air intake for the building. Entrances feature metal grates to capture dust and dirt, thereby increasing the building’s air quality and reducing the amount of energy and chemicals it takes to keep it clean.
  • All wood products in the building are free of urea-formaldehyde, an irritant for asthma. This includes all the doors, windows, cabinets, wood trim and wainscoting, the wood backing in the walls and the majority of the furniture.
  • Parking lots and roofs are green as well. Bike trails abound. Light concrete pavement reflects heat instead of trapping it, just like light-colored roofing material. Special parking spaces exist for low-emission car owners and carpoolers.

U.S. Green Building Council

The Washington, D.C.-based USGBC is committed to a prosperous and sustainable future for the nation through cost-efficient and energy-saving green buildings. With a community comprising 80 local affiliates, more than 18,000 member companies and organizations, and more than 167,000 LEED Professional Credential holders, USGBC is the driving force of an industry that is projected to contribute $554 billion to the U.S. gross domestic product from 2009-2013. USGBC leads an unlikely diverse constituency of builders and environmentalists, corporations and nonprofit organizations, elected officials and concerned citizens, and teachers and students.


The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising more than 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.