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Vanderbilt named to 2012 “Green Heroes” list by Nashville Post

Posted in NEWS on Monday, September 17th, 2012

Originally posted by the Nashville Post

Keith Loiseau thinks of himself as one small part of the school’s hearty network of environmentally conscious students, faculty, staff and administration members. Still, Loiseau shines as a leader, although the university does have an impressive web of people actively involved in the ‘greening’ of campus.

As head architect of the campus planning and construction department, he has championed the school’s move toward environmental stewardship as far back as the 1990s.

“I’ve been interested in sustainability since college,” Loiseau says. “I had an awareness that design is all about allocation of precious resources.”

Loiseau has been in a position to help steer the success of several of Vanderbilt’s most successful LEED-certified projects, including the much-publicized Campus Commons residence and dining cluster, completed in 2007. That project, which was one of the largest construction projects in Vanderbilt’s history, delivered the first LEED-certified building on a university campus in the state and is the largest group of sustainable buildings in the Southeast.

“The Commons project really was seminal,” Loiseau says. “A lot of things took off after that.”

Vanderbilt now has 13 LEED-certified buildings, including seven in the design or construction phase. One upcoming project that Loiseau is particularly excited about is a new 250,000-square-foot combination engineering and medical lab building. He says each new project allows the VU team to integrate all they’ve learned from previous projects.

“With new projects, we can exceed previous accomplishments,” he says.

Loiseau is pleased with the recent renovation of the school’s central library because it didn’t involve new construction. It meant that pieces of the structure didn’t end up in the landfill. Architects and planners found additional space in the original library by opening up “grand spaces” that had been subdivided and built over.

“The greenest building you can have is often not a new building, but a renovation of an existing one,” he says.

Loiseau insists on giving much of the credit for the greening of VU to the students, and to the school’s Office of Sustainability and Environmental Management, a joint effort between plant operations and the VU Department of Environmental Health and Safety.

“I’ve been involved but it’s not just one person making all this happen,” he says.

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