Newly Renovated Max Salazar Building Receives Prestigious LEED Platinum Certification

The building is just one of 10 in the entire state to get this rating that refers to its impacts on the environment, people, and cost-savings
August 31, 2021

CNM is excited to announce that the Phase II Max Salazar renovation team, led by Architecture firm The Hartman + Majewski Design Group and CNM Project Manager Peter Siebert, recently achieved a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification. LEED is a program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council and has become the most widely used green building rating system in the world. Available for virtually all building types, LEED provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.

All newly constructed and renovated buildings at CNM Campuses achieve at least a LEED Silver Certification, but this is the first LEED Platinum building at CNM and only the tenth Platinum rated building in New Mexico. The building will continue to serve its original function to hold courses in a variety of disciplines such as Math, Science, Art, Communications, Humanities, and more.

“Max Salazar is the fifteenth building at CNM to be LEED Certified, just behind the Marketplace building that was certified Silver last month. That’s about half of our buildings across all campuses,” says Molly Blumhoefer, CNM’s Sustainability Manager.

Max Salazar building

Outside, the building uses landscaping details such as shaded pathways and native plants to reduce radiant heat in outdoor spaces. These features reduce the amount of energy needed to cool the building, as do the light colored, reflective, and non-heat absorbing materials including the white rooftop, white paneling on the facade of the building, as well as the natural colored mulches and pavements. These elements also reduce CNM’s contribution to the heat island effect. The heat island effect is a phenomenon that makes urban landscapes much warmer than surrounding areas due to dark and impervious materials like black pavement and black rooftops.

Max Salazar building

Interior energy-saving features were also included as a part of the renovation. All lighting was replaced with Light Emitting Diode (LED) lights and fixtures, which are approximately five times more efficient and longer-lasting than fluorescent lights. All building operation equipment and appliances meet stringent energy and efficiency performance standards. For example, the heating and cooling system supplies outside air based on preset values that are defined by the ambient air outside in contrast to the indoor environment, including variables of temperature and pollutants. Furthermore, these settings are also determined by the specific type of space and time of year. 

Vacancy sensors are located throughout the building and they automatically turn off lights and heating/cooling zones when the room is unoccupied. Additionally, the building is sub-metered for systems such as lighting, HVAC, electric receptacle, and IT loads. Gas and water are also sub-metered. Sub-metering each of these electrical sources individually for energy consumption, as well as monitoring building-level gas and water consumption, allows the CNM staff to find opportunities for resource conservation. Additionally, there is a small dual-axis tracking solar array at MS that helps offset the building’s dependence on fossil fuels and serves as a Campus as a Living Lab teaching tool.

Max Salazar building

It doesn’t stop there. The MS Renovation Project kept 60.5 percent of the on-site generated construction waste out of the landfill by reusing it on-site or in the new building. For example, the original brick was taken off in sections, cleaned, and then reinstalled around the building. This prevented waste but was also necessary in order to match older buildings on campus because this type of brick is no longer manufactured.  Additionally, nearly 25 percent of the building materials are made from recycled content. Over 10 percent of the building materials were extracted and manufactured within 500 miles of the building site, reducing Co2 emissions associated with the transportation of these goods from further distances.

Max Salazar building

At CNM, water conservation is a priority for all projects in which water is used. At MS, there are many indoor and outdoor methods used to achieve water efficiency. Landscape plants have been selected according to microclimate and soil types. The plants you see around the MS building are native to the region and adjust to the variability of water throughout the year. This reduces potable water use on irrigation by almost 70 percent compared to a conventional landscaping approach. 

Max Salazar building

Some of the plants you may see around the building are Prickly Pear Cactus, Echinacea Flower, New Mexico Privet, Desert Willow, Red Yucca, and Catmint. Indoors, the building saves water via low-water fixtures in restrooms, breakrooms, and drinking fountains. Overall, potable water use for this project has been reduced by more than 31 percent from pre-renovation baseline measures. To inspire awareness about water conservation and plastic waste, the “hydration station” bottle fillers count how many plastic bottles are saved by using re-usable containers. CNM leadership hopes to engage building occupants with these features so that they may spread these values beyond campus and into our communities.

“We hope that by achieving Platinum Status we are on our way to having an entirely self-sustaining, or at least carbon neutral building. A project like this could also serve as a Living Lab tool for the growing workforce in green building,” Molly says.