SJAC earns LEED Silver certification for building design

You walk past them, go to class in them, you might even live in them; but do you know about them?

The state of South Dakota issued a law in 2008 requiring new state-owned buildings with a construction value exceeding $500,000 be designed and constructed to silver standard of LEED certification.

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, and is managed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

The certification process guides the design, construction and operation of buildings to decrease environmental impacts and ensure healthy environments for inhabitants. Inside each of the nine categories of LEED certification, projects gain points for aspects integrated into the building.

Categories focus on areas such as maximizing the use of renewable energy, protecting and restoring habitats surrounding the building and minimizing water consumption. Once construction is complete, points are tallied and certification is given according to the point totals: Certified (40-49), Silver (50-59), Gold (60-79) and Platinum (80-120). 

While students were on Winter Break, South Dakota State University received confirmation that the Sanford Jackrabbit Athletic Complex (SJAC) was SDSU’s twelfth LEED certified building. Receiving a score of 52, SJAC was granted a LEED Silver Certification. Many exciting, environmental aspects were integrated into SJAC to help achieve its rating. 

·         Recycled Content

o   Roughly 35 percent, by value, of building materials were manufactured using recycled content. This percentage is considered outstanding per LEED standards.

·         Recycling

o   90 percent of the on-site generated construction waste was diverted from the landfill. Most of this comes from wood, steel and cardboard, which is mulched, melted and recycled for use in other projects.  

·         Alternative Transportation

o   20 bike storage spots and one shower facility are provided to those who commute by bike.

·         Water Use Reduction

o   Low flow features on all restroom fixtures and sinks reduce water usage by 40 percent from the standard baseline. This is double the minimum qualification required by LEED.

·         Microclimate Reduction

o   The building’s white roof reduces heat island effect by reflecting the sunlight instead of absorbing it. Heat island effect occurs when many buildings absorb solar heat, increasing the surrounding air temperature.

·         Local products

o   65 percent of materials, by value, were manufactured or extracted within 500 miles of Brookings.

·         Low emissions

o   All adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings and floorings comply with volatile organic compound (VOCs) limits.  VOCs can be harmful to human health if present in high concentrations.

o   HVAC system refrigerants were chosen for their small quantity of ozone depleting emissions.

·         Energy Performance

o   Energy Efficient Equipment (boilers, pumps, fans, etc.) were installed.

o   Large equipment is only operated when needed based on building occupancy.

o   Energy Recovery systems recapture energy from exhaust air before it is ejected outside.

o   Through these efforts the building has achieved an energy cost savings of 25 percent from the estimated baseline usage.

·         Measurement and verification

o   Building utilities are metered and monitored to track usage data and savings opportunities.

·         Lighting Controls

o   Motion sensors and scheduled lighting systems are installed to reduce electricity usage.

o   Over 80 percent of occupied space meets LEED standards for daylighting, which means natural light accounts for the minimum lighting levels in these spaces. In many cases, the natural light is the only required light depending on weather conditions, time of day and time of year. 

 As noted above, 11 other buildings on campus are rated LEED Silver or higher. These buildings include:

Jackrabbit Grove Residence Halls (4)

McCrory Garden Education-Visitor Center

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Addition

Dykhouse Student Athlete Center (Gold rating)

Jackrabbit Village Residence Halls (3)

The Dairy Microbiology Renovation

Environmentally friendly buildings have been important to SDSU even before LEED certification was required.

Through their efforts, SDSU has found campus savings to multiply when utilizing more efficient systems. It’s easy to do and makes economical sense. More importantly, SDSU finds constructing LEED certified buildings crucial to environmental stewardship.

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