Bergstrom complex scores a LEED® silver rating

Bergstrom reception area

A second-floor reception area in the Bergstrom Football Complex overlooks the training/conditioning room. Photo by Bob Elbert.

The Bergstrom Football Complex is Iowa State's seventh new construction project to be certified by the U.S. Green Building Council for meeting environmentally sensitive design, construction and maintenance standards. The facility, which opened in November 2012, received a silver certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) program. Only platinum and gold certifications rank ahead of silver.

The complex, home to the Cyclone football program, features a 12,000-square-foot weight training area, athletic training/rehabilitation area, team meeting rooms, team and coaches locker rooms and a coaches office suite. It is linked to the Bergstrom indoor training facility, which opened in 2004.

LEED measures achievements in five categories plus an innovation category and awards a credit total. The Bergstrom project scored 55 credits (of a maximum 110), which reflects these achievements in sustainability:

Recycled glass steps
  • 98 percent of the waste generated during construction was recycled, such as steel studs, drywall, cardboard packing and parking lot asphalt and concrete
  • Nearly 34 percent (by dollar value) of materials used in the building were manufactured with recycled materials, including the structural steel, window frames and crushed glass red stairs in the front foyer (pictured, right)
  • 12 percent (by dollar value) of building materials were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of Ames, including the concrete panels that make up the building's exterior skin
  • Low-flow shower heads, sink faucets, toilets and urinals reduce water consumption by 53 percent compared to a building designed to state code
  • A white membrane roof reflects the sun, reducing the building's "heat island" effect
  • The energy operating cost is nearly 22 percent lower than a code-designed building
  • Products used to finish the building, including paints, sealants and flooring, emit very low levels of gaseous compounds
  • The custodial team practices green cleaning
  • Three different CyRide routes service the facility frequently throughout the day
  • Bike parking and showers are available for commuters who pedal to the facility
  • No vehicle parking stalls were added to replace those lost to the building footprint

Iowa State's LEED®-certified projects:

Platinum certification: College of Design Pavilion (2010), State Gym (2012)

Gold certification: Biorenewables Research Laboratory (2011), Hach Hall (2011), Small Animal Hospital at the Lloyd Veterinary Medicine Center (2013)

Silver certification: Morrill Hall (2008), Bergstrom Football Complex (2014)

"Athletics is committed to supporting and advancing the university's sustainability initiatives," said Mike Andresen, manager of facilities and grounds for the athletics department. "We make every effort to be environmentally conscious in our building practices, our home events and our day-to-day operations."

The building met the university's certification goal, said Kerry Dixon, coordinator for sustainable design and construction in facilities planning and management. She noted that several considerations simply put some LEED credits out of reach. For example:

  • The location of the football complex places it outside the desired walking distance to campus housing and other community services such as a library, post office, churches and restaurants. LEED awards points for this "community connectivity," Dixon said.
  • Due to their functions, many of the spaces in the football facility (locker rooms, team meeting rooms where game film is watched) don't receive natural daylight.
  • The football stadium and buildings are not on the university grid, but rather purchase water and electricity from the city of Ames and natural gas from Alliant Energy. The university's highly efficient utility system uses the same fuel twice to produce heat/cooling and electricity.

In 2008, Iowa State set the goal of achieving LEED certification on all its building projects.

"On everything we've done, we met or exceeded the goal we set for that project," Dixon said.

Pending are LEED applications on the Hansen agriculture teaching facility, Troxel Hall and the Harl Commons and student services mall projects in Curtiss Hall.

Campus in midst of ash borer preparations

Four years into a 10-year project, Iowa State's proactive plan to prepare for the invasive emerald ash borer has reduced the campus ash tree density by about 25 percent. A diverse variety of tree species has been planted as replacements.

"The insect is attracted to high-density clusters of ash trees," said Rhonda Martin, landscape architect in facilities planning and management. "Our original target was to reduce the ash tree population from 20 percent of the tree canopy to a more manageable 8 percent, and we have achieved that goal on central campus. Now we are working out toward the edges of campus with phased ash tree removals and replacements."

Iowa's Department of Agriculture issued a statewide quarantine on Tuesday to restrict the transfer of ash wood materials, such as firewood, after evidence of the emerald ash borer was discovered in Waterloo. Six Iowa counties have confirmed infestations: Allamakee, Black Hawk, Cedar, Des Moines, Jefferson and Union.

Long-term planning


Lumber from the ash tree project has seen new life on and off campus, thanks to FPM's TreeCYcle program. The alumni association plans to offer a limited supply of mantle clocks and keepsake boxes crafted from campus ash lumber in its online store later this year.

Iowa State began preparations for the inevitable arrival of the devastating insect more than seven years ago, with the help of state and ISU Extension and Outreach entomologists who developed the state's readiness plan (PDF).

Initially, FPM staff cataloged and rated the campus ash tree population (about 1,260). The weakest and most susceptible trees were removed first. Since then, 50 to 90 ash trees have been removed each winter. Martin said the residence, athletics and recreation services departments have joined the effort by providing additional funding for work beyond the central campus areas.

In four years, crews have removed 296 ash trees and replanted 299 replacement trees. Persistent drought conditions have slowed the replacement of the tree population, Martin said, but another 90 trees are scheduled to be planted this spring.

"Now that the emerald ash borer has been found in six Iowa counties, we are beginning to discuss what happens to the remaining 500 ash trees on campus when the pest is discovered in the Ames area," Martin said. "In the long run, what is the right number of campus ash trees to treat and protect? We don't have the answer yet, but considering recent news about another EAB discovery in Waterloo, we will need to decide soon."

Can it play 'Crazy Train?'

guitar maker Peter Malinoski

Custom electric guitar maker Peter Malinoski (center), artist-in-residence this week in the College of Design, is demonstrating the making of a guitar from beginning to end. His daily workshop runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the woodworking room, 34 College of Design. All are welcome to drop by to observe. The new guitar will be featured during a free recital at noon Friday, Feb. 7, in the College of Design atrium. Photo by Bob Elbert.

Posters, award nominations sought for sustainability symposium

In connection with Iowa State's Symposium on Sustainability later this month, organizers are seeking nominees for the university's annual sustainability awards and poster presentations.

Online registration

Those planning to attend symposium events are asked to register online by 7 p.m. Feb. 23.

The awards and posters are a traditional part of the Symposium on Sustainability, which takes place Feb. 25 in the Memorial Union. In its fifth year, the annual celebration promotes green initiatives throughout the university community.

"This event recognizes and celebrates the collective dedication and commitment of all faculty, staff and students to sustainability at Iowa State University… whether through research, events, operational efficiency, or giving back to the community," said sustainability director Merry Rankin. "We hope many will attend the symposium and, in the next couple of weeks, nominate a worthy individual or group for a Live Green Award or submit a poster idea.

"The poster session is popular with symposium goers," Rankin added. "Last year, we had 50 posters on all kinds of topics from sustainability of food systems to green cleaning to sustainable art."

Submitting poster proposals

Any individuals or groups involved in sustainability projects are encouraged to present posters at the symposium. See the "Call for Posters (PDF) for details. Poster submission forms (doc) are due Feb. 17. 

Submitting award nominations

The Live Green! Awards for Excellence in Sustainability recognize faculty, staff, students and groups that promote campus sustainability through teaching, research, outreach or operations. See this year's selection criteria (PDF). Award nomination forms (doc) are due Feb. 17.

Upcycle your old T-shirts

Another way to participate in the symposium is to donate old T-shirts. At one of the evening "green-it-yourself" centers, they'll recycle T-shirts into bags. To donate, drop shirts off at Rankin's office, 108 General Services, prior to the symposium or bring them to the event.

Symposium overview

Feb. 24

  • 8-9 p.m. Lecture:  Alan Weisman, author of "Countdown: Our Last Best Hope for a Future on Earth?" will give a talk on the same subject, MU Great Hall

Feb. 25 (MU Sun Room/South Ballroom)

  • 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sustainability Poster Session
  • Noon-1 p.m., Symposium Registration
  • 1-4:20 p.m., Welcome by executive VP and provost Jonathan Wickert, panel presentation, campus sustainability visioning forum discussion
  • 4:20-5 p.m., Live Green Excellence Awards Ceremony
  • 5-6 p.m., Awards reception
  • 5-8 p.m., Sustainapalooza: Green-it-Yourself Centers (urban gardening, green transportation, upcycling, and waste diversion), Live Green! Carpet, sustainability-minded giveaways

Stop and smell the orchids


Get a taste of spring at Reiman Gardens' annual Orchid Fest this weekend, Feb. 8-9 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.). Exotic orchids in a variety of species and colors will be on display and available for purchase.  Members of the Central Iowa Orchid Society also will be on hand to answer questions about orchids, giving both novice and experienced growers insight on their care and keeping.

Workshops and discussions are planned throughout the two-day event. They are:

  • "Orchid Care 101," Feb. 8 (9 a.m.) and Feb. 9 (11 a.m.), Tom Hillson, local orchid grower
  • "Native Orchids," Feb. 8 (11 a.m.) and Feb. 9 (1 p.m.), Carson Whitlow, orchid society member
  • "Culture of Phalaenopsis," Feb. 8 (1 p.m.) and Feb. 9 (9 a.m.), Robert "Doc" Bannister, commercial orchid grower
  • "Growing Under Lights," Feb. 9 (3 p.m.), David Scheesley, environmental control expert

Orchid Fest is free for Reiman Gardens members and ISU students; others pay regular gardens admission