Signage helps a college achieve LEED Platinum certification
By Steve Aust
“Green” design continually looms as an architectural hot topic, and collegiate administrators and officials increasingly strive to be at the forefront of this emerging trend. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building certification system serves as a key litmus test in achieving the goal of sustainable architecture.
Although few LEED criteria apply directly to signage, Macalester College’s new sign program played a role in the school’s achieving LEED Platinum accreditation, the highest LEED standard attainable, with its summertime construction of Markim Hall, an on-campus, residential facility. The liberal-arts school with an enrollment of approximately 2,000, the certification was achieved through the school’s construction of Markim Hall, home of the school’s Institute for Global Citizenship.
Archetype Signmakers (Eagan, MN) fabricated the campus’ interior-sign letters and logos using Gemini’s ¼-in.-thick, anodized-aluminum, flat-cut-out letters. According to Gemini’s Dave Welch, the letters comprise 60 to 80% recycled aluminum, which satisfies LEED stipulations – and earns certification points – for using recycled-content materials.
Jenny Kruse, Archetype’s sales executive who worked with Macalester on the project, managed a balancing act of attending to the needs of the school’s facilities and construction-management departments, as well as the architect, Brunner/Cott, and the builder, McGough Construction.
“Working with [St. Paul, MN-based] Visual Communications, we proposed the use of recycled-content materials for the interior-sign program, and the exterior system naturally evolved through our work.”
For the exterior signage, Archetype fabricated ½-in.-thick, aluminum letters using its Gerber Sabre CNC router. To install the interior signage and graphics, Archetype used silicone and foam type. The exterior letters required stud mounting and standoffs from the building face.
Incorporating LEED-compliant signage fulfills Macalester’s overarching mission to promote sustainability. The school recycles 100% of its computer components, and has implemented a 41-page sustainability plan that, in addition to outlining consumption and reduction policies, calls for a waste-free campus by 2020 and carbon neutrality by 2025.
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