USC Upstate Health Education Complex Achieves LEED Silver Certification

May 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Spartanburg, S.C.
– The University of South Carolina Upstate recently achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Certification on its Health Education Complex, a 150,000 square-foot facility that was completed in March 2009. This is the first building on the University’s 330-acre campus to achieve LEED status.

“Sustainable building design is good for our environment and good for education,” said Dr. John Stockwell, chancellor of USC Upstate. “We are proud of achieving LEED Silver Certification and hope to continue increasing our environmentally-friendly practices as we certainly value the environment and our community.”

LEED is a national standard developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to recognize high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability, and specific goals must be met in five key areas for a building to achieve certification: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

The Health Education Center, which houses the Mary Black School of Nursing, School of Education, Enrollment Services, University Bookstore, and Wellness Center, achieved the LEED Silver Certification based on the following criteria:

  • Energy Efficiency – 11.5 % better than ASHRAE code requires. Highly controllable HVAC and lighting systems were used to help accomplish this.
  • Water Efficiency – Plumbing Fixtures use 20% less water than typical.
  • 95% of all construction waste generated was recycled.
  • Construction materials used were made with 31% recycled materials and more than 25% of the materials were regionally sourced.
  • Low emitting (volatile organic compounds and formaldehyde) materials were used for paints, adhesives, carpet systems and wood products.

“As an academic, social, and wellness hub of activity, it was important to the University and design team for the facility to demonstrate strong environmental stewardship,” said Ron Smith, managing principal of McMillan Pazdan Smith, which designed the Health Education Complex.

According to Smith, the benefits of LEED certification are plentiful. LEED certified projects blend environmental, economic, and occupant-oriented performance; they cost less to operate and maintain; are energy- and water-efficient; have higher lease-up rates than conventional buildings in their markets; are healthier and safer for occupants; and are a physical demonstration of the values of the organizations that own and occupy them.

For more information, visit the the U.S. Green Building Council web site at