The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Union has received LEED Gold certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction.

The $55 million student center, which opened in January, was constructed to replace an aging facility and to serve as a gateway to the La Crosse campus.

Doug Pearson, executive director of Facilities Planning and Management at the university, says the sustainable design strategies incorporated into the project will result in 25 percent less energy consumption, 19 percent lower operating costs, 27 percent higher occupant satisfaction and 36 percent less carbon dioxide emissions.

“By using less energy and water,  LEED-certified buildings save UWL students and taxpayers money, along with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and contributing to a healthier environment,” says Pearson.

Sustainable elements include LED lighting, building automation system, daylighting, low-flow toilets and sink faucets, reduced light pollution, storm water management systems and access to alternative modes of transportation.

With a focus on recycled and local materials, the building incorporates more than 25 percent recycled content in its materials; 35 percent of the materials are from a 500-mile radius. More than 90 percent of construction waste was diverted from landfills.

The architects are Scott Kindness and Melissa Rudolph, RA of Kindness Architecture + Planning, which was acquired by Eppstein Uhen Architects during the project.