DURHAM, N.C. – Construction is under way at the Duke University Marine Lab to make the Marguerite Kent Repass Ocean Conservation Center even greener.

The Repass Center, completed in fall 2006, initially received a LEED gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. After encouragement from Nicholas School Dean William L. Chameides, the building is now undergoing construction to upgrade it to LEED certified platinum, the highest possible rating.

A Webcam atop the Bookhout Laboratory, the Marine Lab’s primary research building, provides views of the ongoing construction at the Repass Center as well as the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve beyond. You can check it out at here.

Construction to upgrade the Repass Center primarily includes the installation of a green roof and a water retention system. Plantings of mixed sedum, a hardy, drought tolerant species, will cover a drainage mat, soil and netting and a gutter system. Water will be collected in cisterns connected to a pump system to irrigate the green roof. The chief benefits of a green roof include reduced heat and cooling losses, rainwater management, and educational opportunities.

Cindy L. Van Dover, director of the Marine Lab, says the Repass Center’s green roof, and the process the Marine Lab is undergoing to achieve LEED platinum certification for it, are educational tools for sustainable design, and are true to the sustainable stance of the Nicholas School.