Valparaiso University’s Fites Center Receives Coveted LEED Platinum U. S. Green Building Certification

By: Valparaiso University Last Updated: March 22, 2013

LEED-LogoValparaiso 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.

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.

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.

Recognition of the LEED Platinum certification will take place at a ceremony at the Fites Center on April 12 at 4 p.m. “We are inviting all those who were integral in achieving this exceptional Platinum certification to join us that day for the official unveiling of the LEEDS plaque,” said Valparaiso University President Mark Heckler. “The Fites Engineering Innovation Center is one of the many jewels on the Valparaiso campus. 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.”

Visit 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

About Valparaiso University

Valparaiso University is a comprehensive independent Lutheran university with more than 4,000 students on its campus located in Northwest Indiana, an hour from Chicago. Valpo is a community of purpose-driven, service-minded and ethical individuals who embrace the pursuit of truth with freedom, humility and compassion. Valpo has been identified as one of the top master’s-level institutions in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report magazine for the past 22 years. Valparaiso University offers 110 undergraduate academic programs through the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Engineering and Nursing. Valpo also has a distinguished honors college, a School of Law and more than 40 degree and certificate programs in its Graduate School and Continuing Education Division. Valpo has been recognized for its commitment to outstanding teaching, preparing thoughtful leaders with strong cross-cultural skills and global awareness, and dedication to serving others.

About the U.S. Green Building Council and LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. Over 100,000 projects are currently participating in the LEED rating systems, comprising over 8 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers; reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.

USGBC was co-founded by current President and CEO Rick Fedrizzi, who spent 25 years as a Fortune 500 executive. Under his 15-year leadership, the organization has become the preeminent green building, membership, policy, standards, influential, education and research organization in the nation. For more information, visit