Spain’s Loyola University Earns World’s First LEED Platinum Certification for an ‘Integrated Campus’

The $29M, 312,000-square-foot university, designed by luis vidal + architects, named first campus of its kind to obtain highest LEED certification

SEVILLE, Spain – Aug. 19, 2020 – luis vidal + architects, an international architecture firm that offers responsible and quality designs in response to the urban and social challenges of the day, announced that its newly designed, 312,000-square-foot Loyola University Campus in Seville, Spain, was awarded a LEED Platinum certification. Loyola University is the world’s first integrated campus to receive the highest environmental rating by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The multipurpose facility, designed to accommodate numerous aspects of learning and university life, also aims to be the first “5G Campus” in the world.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is a widely used green building rating system and is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership – granted after verification of up to 110 categories.

“Our team at luis vidal + architects prides itself on its unique, user-based philosophy, developed after years of fostering innovation within the world’s most highly trafficked transportation, health, recreation and cultural centers,” said Luis Vidal, president and founding partner at luis vidal + architects. “To receive such high praise for the Loyola campus is a testament to our approach and architectural foresight, proven across 200 projects worldwide.”

The architecture firm initially carried out a detailed analysis of the site. Given the Mediterranean climate in Seville, where it often reaches high temperatures, special attention was paid to controlling sunlight.

“The project makes use of the lessons learned in T2 at Heathrow Airport in the U.K., and incorporates textile technology – the design of an external element, ‘the candle,’ which controls the light that penetrates the buildings,” added Vidal. “The campus also consists of a sequence of open and closed spaces, designed to provide self-shading.”

For the $29 million higher education project, all the classrooms, laboratories and common spaces (including a cafeteria and auditorium), totaling over 265,000 square feet, are in a single, optimized building. The sports building, library, lockers, access building and chapel complete the complex, totaling over 47,000 square feet of additional space.

The campus’ roof, facades and windows were designed to minimize sizable energy losses. luis vidal + architects worked to prevent excessive heat gain through the facades, given the region’s warm climate. The design team also installed photovoltaic panels to reduce the net-energy consumption of the building – which utilizes around 40% less heat than buildings meeting current regulations. The design also incorporates a water recovery system.

Materials for the project were carefully sourced and included recycled content, regional materials and those of renewable origin. More than 20% of the building materials come from previous uses, and more than 30% of the materials were locally extracted from the surrounding area, avoiding (or reducing) the environmental damages inherent in transporting materials. Renewable materials used for the build included bamboo and other natural resources.

The construction of the complex was wrapped in record time (17 months). Since Sept. 2, 2019, it has hosted a university community of more than 2,500 people.

“Sustainability is one of Loyola’s lines of action and research as a university,” said Gabriel Pérez Alcalá, president of Loyola University. “The facilities we occupy reflect exactly that, our desire to preserve living conditions and the creation of a space in which to train others in their respect and care.”

Vidal noted that the design was equally inspired by local architecture and regional culture, including the squares and patios of the historic communities of Andalusia.

Overall, to achieve LEED Platinum certification, buildings must attain a score of 80 or more on a 100-point scale that measures environmental impact. Indicators include the sustainability of the facilities, efficiency of water, energy consumption, use of materials and resources, interior environmental quality, compliance with location-driven sustainability priorities, and more.

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