Student center awarded prestigious LEED 'green' building certification

Wed, 10/06/2010 (All day)

Mobile, Ala. – The new student center at Spring Hill College has been awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) silver-level certification.

Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), LEED is the nation’s preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

“Spring Hill College’s student center LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council. “USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Spring Hill College serves as a prime example of just how much we can accomplish with ‘the green building movement.’”

Spring Hill College students began the fall 2010 semester enjoying the new student center that was completed in June. The building is Mobile’s first multipurpose LEED-certified “green” complex. The student center serves as the gathering place for the entire Spring Hill College community and is the hub that connects students, faculty and staff to out-of-class learning and social and leadership development.

“The student center is the living room of the college,” said SHC president Rev. Richard Salmi, S.J. “Students, faculty and staff now have a spacious and sustainable centerpiece for networking and hosting events and activities.”

The center was designed by TAG/The Architects Group and built by Vance McCown Construction. “TAG is pleased and honored to have been selected as the LEED architect for the student center. Silver certification is the result of careful specification of standard construction materials, design and execution of energy efficient principles, and clean construction,” said Cindy Klotz, TAG project manager.

The center houses as variety of offices, including student affairs and campus ministry, as well as the dining services areas, a grill, lounges, conference rooms, and student organization offices and work spaces. Conference rooms are available for rental to public groups for meetings and other functions.

The building achieved LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. By using less energy and water LEED certified buildings save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for the campus and the community.

Some of the construction highlights that allowed the student center to achieve the LEED certification included:

·      Reducing the facility’s energy needs by 14 percent

·      Using recycled building materials

·      Providing thermal controls for individual offices

·      Using of low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint

·      Installing efficient plumbing fixtures

·      Using water efficient landscaping

·      Planting trees to provide shade and promote biodiversity

·      Protecting vegetation from construction activities

·      Incorporating campus recycling initiative (paper, aluminum, glass, plastic)

Dr. Charmane May, who directed the student center project for the college, said, “Although the documentation is time consuming, the building is more credible and measurable in terms of sustainability. It is the best way to build from the owner’s standpoint.”

The U.S. Green Building Council's LEED green building certification system is the foremost program for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 32,000 projects are currently participating in the commercial and institutional LEED rating systems, comprising over 9.6 billion square feet of construction space in all 50 states and 114 countries.

For more information on the Spring Hill College student center and its availability for public events, call (251) 380-3884.