Science & Technology

Science and Engineering building receives Gold Certification

The University of West Florida School of Science and Engineering has received the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Gold Certification, surpassing its original goal of Silver Certification. This marks UWF’s first Gold Certified building.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design provides building owners and operators a practical series of steps and guidelines for green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. The levels of certification include Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Earl Smith, the project manager, was involved with the building and LEED certification process from day one.

“It’s a long process,” said Smith. “It’s very labor-intensive, and requires everyone to be on board, from the designers and contractors, to the engineers.”

The process of building and qualifying the project is several years long and requires constant documentation and adherence to strict LEED policies. The certifications are given based on a point system, with individual and groups of points being distributed based on completion of earth-friendly tasks, installation of environmentally-conscious devices and use of recycled products.

Throughout the construction of the 94,000 square-foot facility, 81 percent of all waste was successfully diverted from a landfill and 24 percent of products used were recycled materials. Twenty-three percent of all products also came from within a 500-mile radius of the job site, helping to decrease transportation costs.

The project received 39 credits, surpassing the required 38 for a Gold Certification. Many practices were implemented to ensure the project received recognition, including optimizing energy performance, incorporating water-saving systems throughout the building and integrating heat-reduction strategies into the construction.

“It’s a standard that UWF is definitely going to strive for in the future,” said Smith.

Greenhut Construction Company was enlisted to construct the building and to maintain adherence to the earth-conscious building codes.

“Not only is this a great achievement for Greenhut, but also for the entire team of designers and engineers whose efforts and commitment made this possible,” said Bill Greenhut, president of Greenhut Construction Company. “We are delighted to have had the opportunity to work on such a unique project in which the design strategies not only promote collaboration among the students and faculty, but also integrate the UWF campus with the community through research and entrepreneurship.”

UWF considered the achievement a positive step forward and believes it demonstrates their willingness to be environmentally-conscious.

“By exceeding its own sustainability goals for the project, the university truly shows their commitment to the environment,” said Warren Williams, principal architect at Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Inc.

“The practices that LEED encourages are worthwhile and the best decision in the long run,” said Smith.

For more information, contact Laura Williams, assistant project manager at Greenhut, at 850-941-4022. To access a high-resolution photo of the SSE building, visit Flickr.