Natatorium Earns LEED Certification

Kalamazoo College and TowerPinkster—an architecture, engineering and interior design firm—are celebrating that their combined efforts have led to LEED certification status from the U.S. Green Building Council for the College’s natatorium.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green-building rating system in the world. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership.

“The award of LEED certification punctuates the roll-out of the College’s updated Climate Action Plan, which leans heavily on energy reduction to meet its greenhouse-gas emission goals, as well as creating a healthier campus,” Kalamazoo College Associate Vice President of Facilities Management and Chief Sustainability Officer Susan Lindemann said. “This is a significant achievement toward that plan.”

The 29,600-square-foot, two-story natatorium opened in 2021. During the natatorium’s design and construction, the collaborators considered materials, efficient design, and the overall health of the facility’s users in their sustainable practices. The features and elements that led to LEED certification status include:

  • A light-toned roof that helps prevent heat from being reflected into the atmosphere.
  • Efficient rainwater and stormwater management that ensures runoff from storms up to a 98th percentile event will be retained onsite.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures installed to reduce the water used in toilets, showers and sinks.
  • Native-plant landscaping that eliminates the need for irrigation.
  • Heat systems that recover energy for the pool air and water.
  • Dedicated outdoor air systems that provide fresh air and efficient heat for spectator areas and locker rooms.
  • A chloramine evacuator system that uses vents to reduce air contaminants where swimmers breathe while preventing a chloramine build up in the building.
  • Bicycle infrastructure with indoor and outdoor parking spaces.
  • Additional energy and water meters to monitor the use of resources.
  • Construction practices that allowed 52 percent of the construction waste to be diverted from landfills.

The natatorium features eight competition lanes, a separate diving area with 1-meter and 3-meter boards, on-deck seating for athletes, a dryland training room, an office suite for coaches and meet management, a high-quality timing system and large scoreboard, varsity team locker rooms for swimmers and divers and a display space of awards in the lobby.

“The new natatorium is truly one-of-a-kind. Its design emphasizes the idea that buildings, which traditionally have a very heavy energy use, can be designed efficiently while still prioritizing the needs and health of student athletes,” said Perry Hausman, manager of mechanical engineering at TowerPinkster. “We are especially proud of the design choices Kalamazoo College selected to promote healthy indoor air quality for a facility type that is so often associated with odors. Congratulations to Kalamazoo College for this incredible honor and for their commitment to sustainable building initiatives.”

Take a virtual tour of Kalamazoo College’s natatorium.
The pool in the Kalamazoo College natatorium, which has earned LEED certification
K’s natatorium has earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Natatorium observation deck
Kalamazoo College’s natatorium features eight competition lanes, a separate diving area with 1-meter and 3-meter boards, on-deck seating for athletes, a dryland training room, varsity team locker rooms for swimmers and divers, and more.