University receives LEED Gold certification for new science and medical building

December 27, 2012

The Southern Utah University has recently received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for its Center for Health and Molecular Sciences building. The Spectrum reports that the university is falling in line with state regulations that are requiring new state-funded commercial construction projects to meet LEED certification standards.

More than 200 federal and state agencies have deployed the tactic in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint associated with new construction projects. The new science building at Southern Utah University is not the only educational facility getting a green upgrade in the state. According to the news source the Jeffrey R. Holland Centennial Commons Building at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, is also being built to meet LEED standards.

"The (Holland Building) is very highly energy efficient and very innovative when it comes to the mechanics used throughout the building as well as the lighting, which runs on sensors or timers," Sherry Ruesch, DSC executive director of campus services, told the news source. "We are excited to find out if reach the LEED Gold certification."

Energy-efficient educational buildings are being built at an increased rate. USA Today reports that building a LEED-certified school often adds to the cost of the project by 2 to 3 percent. Despite the added cost, many educational facilities are dedicating themselves to the cause. McGraw Hill projects that all publically funded school construction will be considered "green" by 2025.

The Spectrum reports that back at Southern Utah University, administrators are enthusiastic for the introduction of the new green building.

"We are excited about the amount of energy usage for a building that size," Dave Tanner, SUU vice president of Facilities Management and Planning told the news source. "Even though we’ve added square footage compared to some of our other buildings on campus, we are still seeing added energy savings."

Various organizations, both federal and state are working to promote the construction of green educational buildings. For example, in Pennsylvania, the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub) works to improve green solution adoptions in the northern state. By supporting the inclusion of energy-efficient technologies in commercial buildings, organizations like EEB Hub hope to reduce the environmental impact of large construction projects and improve the state's overall environmental health.