Several generations of sustainability major and minor students have worked with Facilities Operations to continuously improve best practices in on- and off-campus Florida Tech building construction and operations. These models not only lower GHG emissions, they decrease energy expenses. Specialized student projects helped directly achieve LEED certifications for two campus buildings (below).
To enhance measureable skills in sustainable building via projects with Florida Tech Facilities Operations to advance the best green practices in construction, operations, and certification of campus buildings.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is the premier certification for sustainable buildings in the U.S. The LEED system is managed by the U.S. Green Building Council to incentivize and compare improvements in building environmental and energy efficient buildings. There are different building categories that can gain LEED certification, including New Construction, Core and Shell, Existing Building and Operation Maintenance, and others. A LEED certification can take years to complete due to the rigor and expense of differing ratings components. Other green building certification program include the Florida Green Building Coalition.
A LEED Silver building since 2015, several student teams worked with Facilities Operations and outside contractors to achieve New Construction certification for this facility. Student projects in the Applied Sustainability course were integral to project completion from start to finish, including the final processing of many performance credits. The building system was challenging because it is a swimming pool with associated energy and water demands. As of 2015, this is the only LEED certified campus pool complex in Florida.
The LEED Certified Scott Center for Autism Treatment was the first building at Florida Institute of Technology to be formally built to LEED certification specifications. The Scott Center is now a major community hub for helping families and caregivers in a 20,000 sq ft, sustainably-designed environment.
We are scoping potential LEED certification for the Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts in the category of Existing Building Operations and Maintenance (EBOM). An inventory of credits that can be achieved has been developed based on certification efforts by students and staff. The Funk Center was built to many sustainable building standards and is a model for potential EBOM certification efforts around campus through best practices in select energy, water, and air quality credits. Success with this project at either LEED or FGBC levels is in the long-term interest of Florida Tech. All Florida Tech Panthers have a stake in the indoor and outdoor quality of our buildings.
Buildings can be some of the biggest energy consumers and pollution generators in society, but that is changing. Universities “build the future” and are exercising leadership in sustainable construction. Florida Tech's sustainability program has built many student-staff partnerships to assist campus Facilities Operations staff in their building initiatives. This new generation of campus sustainability is fostered in part by incentive-based models involving quality certifications. At the same time many best practices in building design and operations have been implemented without formal certification. As a center of higher education and research, we are always searching for advances in sustainable design, policies, and practices.