Zilber School, Brewery complex win LEED certification

Magda Peck with the Gold award for the Zilber School of Public Health; Mike Mervis of Zilber Ltd. holds the LEED platinum neighborhood award.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health was recognized this week as a sustainable building in a sustainable neighborhood.

The Zilber School received the LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifies environmentally friendly buildings that incorporate “green” features in their construction.

At the same time, the Brewery neighborhood, which includes the school, received Platinum LEED Certification for environmentally friendly and sustainable planning and construction in the neighborhood. The area, developed by Zilber Limited, is now one of only three sites in the U.S. and five sites in the world to achieve this new designation.

Magda Peck, founding dean of the Zilber School of Public Health, noted that public health and the environment are closely tied.

“Knowing that the construction of this building adheres to the highest set of ethical principles, we experience our core value of integrity every time we come to the Brewery and walk through these doors. Its design inspires us in our public health teaching, research and service.”

The Zilber School of Public Health was designed to incorporate the historic features of the old, renovated brewery building and an addition, making one new energy-efficient space, said Kevin Mantz, executive vice president of KM Development Corp., the construction arm of Zilber Ltd. which built the school. Construction techniques focused on using recycled materials and materials sourced within 500 miles of the site, and recycling of construction debris, he noted.

The LEED neighborhood certification is based on environmentally friendly planning and construction as well as smart urban growth strategies and infrastructure. The site includes such green urban features as pedestrian friendly streetscapes, access to public transit and storm water management through landscaping and underground reservoirs.

Mayor Tom Barrett, who accepted the LEED neighborhood award for the city, said sustainability is one of the city’s key goals, and such public-private partnerships as The Brewery are critical to reaching those goals.

“It is very cool to have a LEED designation for an entire neighborhood,” Barrett said.