Lori SturdevantSt. Olaf College's stunning year-old science building, Regents Hall, has received  the top ranking it had been seeking from the U.S. Green Building Council. Regents is the largest and most complex academic building in the nation to be deemed worthy of platinum certification to date, under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system.

Regents Hall is the second Minnesota private college building so designated this year. Macalester College's Markim Hall was first -- but was smaller and lacked the complicating features of science lab ventilation and high-tech equipment housing.

At 200,000 square feet, Regents is so large that, compared with a building of its size that only meets code, it saves enough energy each year to power 250 homes. It sets the energy-saving bar for future Minnesota academic buildings high indeed.