UM buildings go ‘green’

The University of Miami’s new Clinical Research Institute (CRI) on the Jackson Memorial Medical Campus is the first building in the South Florida-area to be certified “green” from top to bottom.

This is one of the most recent examples of an initiative, spearheaded by President Donna E. Shalala, to propel the university into ecological sustainability through the use of environmentally-friendly technologies.

“We’re going green!” said Shalala regarding the soon-to-be college-wide project.

Shalala said that there will be a three-legged effort throughout the entire university, including construction planning, education and transportation.

The construction planning leg, headed by Vic Atherton, vice president of facilities and planning, and Ken Capezzuto, director of environmental health and safety, broke ground on the CRI last spring.

The recently completed 350,000 square-foot building is outfitted with double-paned, argon-filled glass so its windows may remain cool in direct sunlight, and high-efficiency light fixtures tied to a building energy management system.

The building also includes an air management system to minimize impurities and maximize comfort. In addition, almost all internal materials, including walls and carpeting, are made out of recyclable or recycled materials.

This building, with its “green” features, will not stand alone.

In the years to come, the construction of three more “green” buildings is also planned. The Biomedical Research Institute, the University Hospital and its support facility, which will also be located on the medical campus, will embrace many of the same environmentally-friendly features as the CRI.

On the Coral Gables campus there are a few promotions geared toward raising awareness of sustainability and alternative fuel usage.

The university has purchased test models of new electric transportation carts that will hopefully replace the gasoline-powered Gold-Cart currently in use by university staff.

Such carts are already in use at other institutions, such as the University of Southern California.

The university plans to sponsor a contest