Campus Life

Energy efficiency, storm resistance focus for UWF building construction program

The construction industry requires its professionals to take on the toughest jobs with the tightest schedules, and contractors must find a way to build within those parameters. Demands for more efficient buildings also call for knowledge in efficiency standards and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.

The University of West Florida’s (UWF) Building Construction program does just that, teaching students the latest technology and incorporating the highest standards of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility.

At UWF, the Building Information Modeling (BIM) system prepares students for energy management and facilities planning. The BIM software program is the cutting-edge technology in the industry right now, and UWF students are afforded hands-on experience.

“The BIM software can assist with everything from conceptualizing duct work to analyzing environmental factors such as daylight availability, glare protection, outside views and acoustic comfort,” said Glenda Mayo, instructor in the Applied Science, Technology and Administration department.

BIM has even assisted in the construction of current LEED-certified buildings at UWF, including the School of Science and Engineering (SSE) complex, which earned a LEED Gold certification in 2010. The new College of Business complex is expected to earn gold as well.

Because energy efficiency and environmental consciousness are such important trends in the construction industry right now, UWF students trained in BIM are able to become viable candidates in today’s competitive construction industry.

“Students enrolled in the program are able to truly be on the cutting edge of all this exciting technology,” said Karen Rasmussen, chair of the Applied Science, Technology and Administration department. “This advantage makes them a very competitive asset upon entering the workforce.”

In addition to building three-dimensional, intelligent designs within the software, students are able to test their designs with storms and other challenges construction industrialists face daily.

“The program prepares students to meet growing challenges with academic preparation, career awareness and real-world experiences,” said Rasmussen.

“A high number of graduates in the program are regularly employed in a commercial environment,” said Rasmussen. “They are well prepared not only to meet a wide variety of employer needs, but to design buildings that meet the newest and toughest standards of energy efficiency and storm resistance.”

UWF is committed to the region it serves, affording opportunity and access to higher education for anyone working toward a better future. By providing cutting edge resources for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, the university is remaining relevant and useful in today’s ever-changing learning environment.