GCC unveils eco-friendly building - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GCC unveils eco-friendly building

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by Jolene Toves

Guam - The Guam Community College continues to lead the way in thinking green in Guam. Today the Mangilao college celebrated its LEED Silver Certification by the US Green Building Council.

GCC president Mary Okada doesn't just talk about thinking green - she makes things happen. Lieutenant Governor Ray Tenorio said, "I don't think there's any other agency head throughout the island that I know of maybe in the Pacific that is more instrumental in networking and ultimately manifesting her labors into benefits for the people of Guam."

Tenorio was on hand at a ceremony to celebrate GCC's LEED Silver Certification of its foundation building.  LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is part of a Green Building Certification program that recognizes best in class building strategies and practices.  Okada thanked all those involved in making the certification possible including the US Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, the GCC Foundation, the Guam Energy Office along with GCC staff.

"All of these entities contributed financial resources to the construction of this building and the sustainable features such as the photovoltaic's the rain water catch water system, the digital controls and other LEED components are also incorporated," she said.

The $5.8 million, 21,000 square foot structure was designed by Michael Makio of Taniguchi Ruth Makio Architects and built by The Orion Corporation.  Some of the LEED features include energy efficient lighting and windows. Furniture made of energy efficient materials, and recycled tiles from the original structure. According to president Okada however what's more important is what actually goes on inside the walls of the LEED Silver building. She says it's the learning that is their mission at GCC.

The foundation building houses the college's adult education offices and classrooms. She said, "Guam has 18,000 people without a high school diploma - our mission here and part of the reason we built this building so they can also become sustainable and so that we provide this building so they can also learn."

This is the second GCC building to be recognized by the green building council. The nearby learning resources center is LEED Gold Certified - the second highest certification a building can receive. Guam Energy Office director Pete Calvo says GCC is leading the way in achieving his agency's goal of reducing petroleum use in Guam by 20% by the year 2020. Calvo said, "Today marks another milestone in a long line of success GCC has achieved through vision, innovation, collaboration and shared determination," he said.

The Guam Community College has seen a tremendous amount of growth over the last several years. The foundation building is the fourth new building added to GCC's campus in four years.
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