January 04 2012

LEED Certification & Sustainability at the University of South Florida

The University of South Florida (USF) is a university system in the Tampa Bay area. The main campus, located in Tampa, ranks as the 9th largest university in the country. In 2005, a class from the MBA Sustainable Business track did a sustainability audit for a class project, which caught the attention of administrators. Since then, USF has implemented a massive overhaul of their sustainability techniques, the largest of which has been the LEED certification of multiple buildings on campus.

USF Patel CenterThe Patel Center for Global Solutions opened its doors in the Spring 2010 semester. The theme of sustainability resonates throughout the building, seen in its design and architecture. Each floor’s design represents each of the four natural elements. The building has recycled carpets, low-flow toilets, energy-efficient lighting, energy-efficient heating and air condition systems, and its architecture allows for natural light throughout much of the building. The Patel Center currently houses the Patel School for Global Sustainability and the university administration. It is also home to USF’s Masters of Art in Global Sustainability, one of the few programs of its kind in the country.

In the Fall 2011 semester, USF opened its latest building: the Interdisciplinary IDS BuildingScience Building. It is a state-of-the-art science research and teaching facility, and it is on track to become the second LEED certified building on campus. Its design parallels that of the Patel Center. Applications have also been submitted for other buildings on campus, such as the Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare and the Wellness and Nutrition Center. USF planners are also considering redesigning parts of the Marshall Student Center for LEED certification.

USF has created an Office of Sustainability to help advance the university’s efforts. This office has been responsible for many of the smaller efforts on campus, such as energy competitions between dorms and the creation of new student organizations dedicated to sustainability. USF has taken the MBA class’s considerations to heart and are becoming leaders for sustainable design in the country.

What sustainability efforts do you know of that have been successful at other universities?

Credits: Images and documents linked to sources.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas is a graduate student studying Urban and Regional Planning and Business Administration - Information Systems at the University of South Florida. She became interested in urban issues as an undergraduate student, and developed a focus on urban issues in the Tampa Bay area after serving as an intern for a light rail campaign in 2010. She currently works at the Tampa Bay Partnership, a public-private economic development company. She has credited her time with Global Site Plans as one of the reasons behind her employment there.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 4th, 2012 at 6:35 pm and is filed under Architecture, Energy, Engineering, Infrastructure. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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