4-H goes green


COLUMBUS — The Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center has officially become the first LEED-certified “green” building on Ohio State University’s campus.

LEED, or the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System, is a third-party certification program conducted by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

Frank Elmer, principal of Lincoln Street Studio — the architectural firm that designed the building — recently received notification of the LEED certification.

“We needed 26 points for certification, and we got 30,” Elmer said.
Proud moment. Tom Archer, assistant director of Ohio State University Extension and leader of 4-H Youth Development, said the designation is something to be proud of.

“We’re very pleased with this building and the programming we are able to provide here,” Archer said. “It’s a great atmosphere for everyone, whether they work here or come here for conferences and programs.”

Allen Auck, program coordinator of 4-H events and activities, said he thinks it’s fitting that the first LEED-certified building on campus is geared toward youth.

“The whole environment in this building lends itself to learning,” he said.

The environmentally friendly features also make a difference for workers, he said.

“The natural light just floods into the building, and the air flow is great — it seems like everyone is a bit happier and healthier to be here,” he said.


Other special features of the building include the use of dual-flush toilets and other water-conserving elements designed to reduce water use by at least 30 percent; recycled materials in carpeting, wall panels, and structural steel and concrete; and a geothermal heating and cooling system, designed by project engineers from the firm of W.E. Monks, that relies on a constant underground temperature of 55 degrees to heat and cool the building.

“The system uses the ground as a source of heat in winter and as a place to dump heat in the summer,” Elmer said. It’s estimated that the system and related energy-saving features makes the building five times more energy efficient than any other campus building.

“While some features required a higher initial investment, Elmer said, “they’ll save money in operating costs forever.”

Ryan Schmiesing, who was co-interim state 4-H leader for Ohio 4-H Youth Development until he began working at National 4-H Headquarters in Washington D.C. in July, is credited for pushing for the green designation during the planning stages.

Reached at his office in Washington, Schmiesing said he, too, is proud of the LEED designation, but credits many others for their role.

“I still remember when Jim Dailey (campaign chair for the building’s fundraising efforts) asked the designers if they knew anything about green design,” Schmiesing said.

“That was the birth of the idea, and Schmiesing admits he had to be persuaded. But the more he investigated the concept of environmentally friendly, the better the idea sounded.

“The entire process convinced someone who didn’t really believe in environmental design to being a strong advocate for it,” he said.

Reflection of Extension

Schmeising also says the building says a lot about OSU Extension: “Extension has a strong focus on the environment and talks a lot about energy conversation — now, through its 4-H program, it has a building that manifests those ideas.”

Marjory Trishman, project manager who represented Ohio State’s Facilities Operations and Development on the project, credits Schmiesing’s determination for the LEED certification.

Now, she said, Ohio State is beginning to adopt LEED principles into the design and construction of new buildings and major renovations.

The Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center is home to Ohio 4-H, which is the youth development arm of Ohio State University Extension.

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