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Valparaiso University’s Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute. Recognition of the LEED Platinum certification will take place during a ceremony at the Fites Center on April 12, at 4 p.m.

“The Donald V. Fites Engineering Innovation Center is already a special place for learning,” said Eric Johnson, Dean of the College of Engineering at Valparaiso University. “The LEED Platinum certification indicates that the building itself is special, too; it is a place where engineering innovation is on display every day.”

The Fites Engineering Innovation Center is one of only five buildings in Indiana, and the only higher education building in the state, to receive LEED Platinum certification, the highest level of certification awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. It is one of only 1,026 LEED Platinum certified buildings around the world. Other LEED Platinum certified buildings include: The National Audubon Society Headquarters in New York, the Starbucks Palace in Madrid, Discovery Communications Global Headquarters in Maryland, McDonald’s Corporation World Headquarters in Illinois, and the Liberty Island Retail Pavilion in New York.

“The Fites Engineering Innovation Center is one of the many jewels on the Valparaiso campus,” said Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler. “It is designed to be a place for learning and preparation for professional advancement. It is now a model for energy efficiency and savings in Indiana and across the country.”

LEED certification of the Fites Engineering Innovation Center was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community, according to the U.S. Green Building Council. These features include: Power partially generated by  high-efficiency solar panels; lighting, heating and cooling controlled by occupancy sensors; water savings from waterless and low-flow fixtures; underground infiltrators and surface rain garden for storm water runoff; zero-maintenance landscaping with drought-tolerant native Indiana prairie grasses; and use of recycled materials.

“The Fites Engineering Innovation Center’s LEED Platinum certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, President, CEO and Founding Chair, U.S. Green Building Council. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and the Fites Center serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish.”

The Fites Engineering Innovation Center is named after Donald V. Fites ’56 CE, who is the retired chief executive officer and chairman of Caterpillar Inc. and a member of the Valparaiso University Board of Directors. Mr. Fites, one of the College of Engineering’s most successful graduates, has played a significant role in previous fundraising campaigns and is a major financial supporter of the College. The College of Engineering is proud to honor further the legacy of Mr. Fites with the LEED Platinum certification.

Visit valpo.edu/engineering to learn more about the College of Engineering. For more information or to request media availability for Dean Johnson or President Heckler, contact Nicole Niemi at nicole.niemi@valpo.edu.