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Green building earns LEED certification

NEWSfieldhouse3With basketball season already under way, one of the University of Miami’s biggest off-season additions has already received national recognition– the UM Field House.

Roughly about 30,000 square feet, the structure that sits next to the BankUnited Center was recently certified with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system at the gold level due to its use of environmentally-friendly materials and energy conservation methods.

LEED, a set of energy-efficient building standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council, recognizes buildings that utilize ‘green’ building techniques in an effort to continue raising awareness of the impact made by buildings on the environment.

In the United States alone, buildings account for nearly one-third of all greenhouse gases emissions, according to Scientific American. Buildings are subject to a point scale during their design and construction and, if they meet the necessary requirements, they are recognized for their efficiency.

Miami’s Field House is just one of 35,000 projects using LEED standards across all 50 states and over 90 countries, according to a UM press release.

“The University is committed to energy conservation and the reduction of energy dependency,” Eduardo A. Lopez, senior project manager of UM Facilities, Design and Construction Department said in the press release.

The UM Field House, with it’s new basketball courts, will be the practice facility for both the basketball teams and will be utilized for various events at UM. This building was part of Miami’s Green U movement, a campus-wide initiative started in 2005 to make all parts of the University stay true to one of its school colors.

“The green building movement offers an unprecedented opportunity to respond to the most important challenges of our time, including global climate change, dependence on non-sustainable and expensive sources of energy and threats to human health,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council.

Earning LEED gold certification may not promise that the building will successfully conserve energy. According to the New York Times, over half of the LEED-certified buildings through 2006 did not qualify for the Energy Star label, a program run by the Environmental Protection Agency.

What impact the Field House, rather than just the basketball courts, will have on the environment is yet to be determined. Fedrizzi still thinks the university is at the beginning of something big.

Austen Gregerson may be contacted at agregerson@themiamihurricane.com.

November 18, 2009

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Austen Gregerson

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