Dual-Use Higher Ed. Facility Earns LEED Gold

ORLANDO, Fla. The University Center, a joint-use facility shared by Valencia Community College and the University of Central Florida, has earned LEED Gold accreditation, adding feathers in the caps to the sustainability programs at both schools.
Designed by C.T. Hsu + Associates, P.A., of Orlando, the $23 million, three-story University Center located on Valencias West Campus houses 40 classrooms, a testing center, computer labs, faculty offices, and a cafÄ. The 10,000-square-foot structure serves 1,700 students from Valencia CC and UCF.
Valencia CC and UCF have long histories of creating sustainable campuses and encouraging environmentally friendly practices amongst staff and students. Both institutions are pursuing climate-neutral campuses under the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment.
"Valencia has pledged that all new building construction meet LEED criteria," says Lucy Boudet, Valencia spokeswoman. "On each of our LEED-certified structures, our aim was initially for Silver certification but we qualified for Gold in each case."
The centers green features include a storm water management plan that captures and treats 90 percent of the average annual rainfall runoff on site. All non-roof impervious surfaces are paved with highly reflective materials designed to reduce heat island effect.
The centers thick thermal envelope, highly insulated glazed windows, and conesrvative HVAC system make the University Center 28 percent more efficient than a conventional campus building, resulting in an estimated annual energy savings of $35,000. Rooftop solar panels supply approximately 10 percent of the facilitys electricity needs, while plumbing fixtures utilize 75 percent less water than conventional faucets, saving about a half-gallon with each use, according to sources. Outside the building, a drought tolerant landscape cuts down on the drinkable water used in irrigation and natural areas around the building provide homes for local flora and fauna.
The University Center is the third Valencia-owned building to earn LEED status. In 2008, Valencia CC received its first LEED Gold certification for the 80,000-square-foot Allied Health Sciences Building. Designed with teaching spaces for medical and dental students, the Allied Health Sciences Building incorporates an efficient HVAC system valued at $1.9 million. In 2009, Valencia CC achieved LEED Gold certification for its Special Events Center, a 17,000-square-foot building situated on the West Campus and used for special events and receptions.
UCF received its first LEED Gold rating in December 2009 for its Physical Sciences I building. The schools College of Medicine on the Health Sciences Campus also earned LEED Silver last year. UCF buildings currently pursuing LEED certification include the schools Recreation and Wellness Center, the Burnett School of Biomedical Science, and the nearly completed Public Safety Building.
UCF has committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 42 percent by 2030 and increase recycling rates 75 percent by 2020, compared to 2010 levels.
PPI Construction Management of Gainesville, Fla., built the University Center with 33 percent recycled materials. During construction, 95 percent of waste, or 600,000 pounds, was diverted from landfills.