Buff Briefs | Andrews gets LEED gold



Andrews gets LEED gold

The University of Colorado at Boulder’s Andrews Hall, a residence hall located in the Kittredge Complex, has received a gold rating in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED standards are considered a U.S. benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance “green” buildings. The benefit of meeting LEED standards is the long-term savings for CU-Boulder in energy and water reduction, said Energy Conservation Officer Moe Tabrizi. A rating of gold or higher has become the campus standard for major renovations and new buildings.

“On this campus, it is tempting to say ‘ho-hum, another LEED gold-rated building,’ but we should all resist that urge,” said Curt Huetson, director of facilities planning and operations for housing and dining services.

“This truly is another example of the campus commitment and support for this and other LEED-focused projects, led by staff members that are leaders in the sustainability movement, as well as a great external design-build team.”

Andrews Hall is expected to experience a 25 percent reduction in energy use and a 20 percent reduction in water usage. New features include insulation, double-pane windows, sensors that suspend heating and cooling systems when windows are open, dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, aerators on faucets, energy-efficient lighting with automatic controls and carpet and other finishes made from recycled materials.

Fewer gender-bending fish

Male fish are taking longer to be “feminized” by chemical contaminants that act as hormone disrupters in Boulder Creek following the upgrade of a wastewater treatment plant in Boulder in 2008, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

But the problem of fish feminization — which causes males to develop characteristics of females and to decline in numbers — is a global one that is growing as a result of increasing chemicals like natural human reproductive steroids, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, shampoos and soaps making their way into waterways, said CU Professor David Norris, who led the study.

Norris, a professor of integrative physiology, said the multimillion-dollar general upgrade of the Boulder Wastewater Treatment plant has had a dramatic effect on delaying symptoms of male fish feminization. The team compared fish populations below the wastewater treatment plant on Boulder Creek in 2006 before it had been upgraded and again after the upgrade had been completed.

Norris participated in a press briefing at the Endocrine Society’s 92nd annual meeting held June 19-22 in San Diego. Other team members included Alan Vajda of the University of Colorado at Denver, Ashley Bolden and John Woodling of CU-Boulder, Larry Barber of the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Resource Division in Boulder and Heiko Schoenfuss of St. Cloud University in Minnesota.

Two receive NSF CAREER awards

Two University of Colorado at Boulder scientists have received National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development, or CAREER, awards.

Assistant Professor David Noone of the atmospheric and oceanic atmospheric sciences department and Assistant Professor Noah Fierer of the ecology and evolutionary biology department received the significant monetary grants to further their research. Both Noone and Fierer are fellows at CU-Boulder’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences.

Noone received a $722,421 CAREER grant to analyze the exchange of water between the land surface and atmosphere to improve climate models and predictions of climate change. He also will deploy a new precipitation-monitoring network in coordination with middle schools in and around Erie, which is expected to engage students in the scientific process.

Fierer received a $655,000 CAREER grant to study the effects of nutrient addition on soil microbial communities. Pollution and farming practices, such as the addition of fertilizers, are leading to inputs of nitrogen and phosphorous in the soil far beyond normal levels. Fierer will look at the impacts of these additions on microbes, which are important organisms for maintaining soil fertility.

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