Willamette’s Ford Hall earns LEED Gold certification

Ford Hall, Willamette University's newest academic building, has earned gold certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 42,000-square-foot academic building, which opened this past fall, is Willamette's second project to earn LEED Gold status -- the first was the Kaneko Commons residential and dining facility.

The certification is another example of Willamette's continued dedication to sustainability. Willamette has committed to making all future buildings meet LEED Silver certification standards or better. A recent renovation of the Oregon Civic Justice Center at the College of Law met the standards of LEED Silver.

Willamette has been honored as first in the nation for sustainability activities by the National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club also named Willamette one of its top 20 "Cool Schools" for a commitment to the environment.

Green elements in Ford Hall include:

  • A 26.8-kilowatt photovoltaic system to generate electricity back to the grid
  • The use of windows and natural light to cut down on electricity use
  • Custom furniture built from trees that were removed during construction
  • Displacement ventilation HVAC system that reduces energy consumption more than 40%
  • Occupancy sensors to help control lighting, heating and cooling levels
  • Low-flow and dual-flush plumbing fixtures
  • Native and drought-tolerant landscaping to reduce irrigation needs by 50%
  • Low- or no-VOC construction materials to maintain a high indoor air quality

Ford Hall is dedicated to the philosophy of creative integration of academics and technology. It houses an unusual mix of departments -- including mathematics, rhetoric and media studies, computer science, film studies, Russian and digital arts and music -- to foster cross-disciplinary learning. 

The building features large collaborative learning spaces on each floor, located adjacent to faculty offices to promote faculty and student interaction.

Designed by Hennebery Eddy Architects and built by Hoffman Construction Company, Ford Hall construction was accomplished in just 14 months. The building was designed to last 100 years, yet it maintains the ability to be flexible for future renovation.

The building is named in honor of the late Hallie Ford, a Willamette lifetime trustee and a beloved benefactor, who donated $8 million toward its construction.

Pictured (from left to right): John Balling, executive director of Willamette Integrated Technology Services; Larry D. Large, interim president; Doug Reimer, Hennebery Eddy Architects; Rachel Gutter, senior education section manager for the U.S. Green Building Council; David Douglass, interim dean of Willamette's College of Liberal Arts; Jan Gardner, director of facilities; Jim Truax, Hoffman Construction Company; Gary Grimm, manager of maintenance and operations.