University of Georgia earns LEED Certification

University of Georgia earns LEED Certification

Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia has earned LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council with high marks – gold – for the expansion of the Tate Student Center. The addition, which opened in June, earned every credit point that was submitted in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design process.

The Tate Center becomes the sixth building on a university campus in the state of Georgia to be certified at the gold level and the second to be so designated in Athens.

“We’re glad that UGA has received gold certification on the Tate Student Center project,” said President Michael F. Adams, likening LEED certification to the ‘Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval’ in regard to sustainability. “We will continue to assess, on a case-by-case basis, whether LEED certification is advisable and practical, depending upon the nature of the construction project and the level of cost incurred.”

LEED certification attests that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across multiple metrics: energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources with sensitivity to their impacts. LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

The Tate Student Center addition features a 26,378-square foot green roof, as well as a 75,000-gallon cistern for rainwater and condensate water harvesting. The reclaimed water is being used to flush toilets, provide make-up water for campus fountains and irrigate the campus landscape from non-potable sources. The building’s mechanical system is designed to maximize efficiencies with heat recovery and an economizer mode. Approximately 40 percent of the building materials were supplied by local or regional sources, and low VOC (volatile organic compound) materials were used in carpet, paint, adhesives and sealants throughout the building in order to enhance air quality. In addition, the university diverted three-quarters of the construction waste from landfills to a construction waste recycling facility that provided materials such as gravel mulch and soil to be used elsewhere on campus.

“Everything about this building exemplifies sustainability, in keeping with our long-standing campus master plan,” said Danny Sniff, associate vice president and UGA’s chief architect. “The building sits atop a former paved parking lot and, as a complement to it, we’ve transformed an asphalt drive into the iconic green space now known as the Georgia Quad. The end result is a sustainable new facility for our students that is well connected to surrounding buildings and situated within a safer and more enjoyable pedestrian environment.”

Four other projects recently completed or currently under design and construction by the university are LEED-registered and tracking certification at the silver or gold level: the College of Pharmacy addition, a new residence hall on East Campus, the Georgia Museum of Art addition, and the Richard B. Russell Building for the Special Collections Libraries. Once certified, these buildings will establish a half-million square feet of documented LEED space in the university’s facilities inventory.