BELLE GLADE — Palm Beach State College’s Technical Education Center at the Belle Glade campus has been awarded LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The building, which opened in 2010, is the first in the Florida College System to achieve this highest designation for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
The facility earned the platinum rating due to its comprehensive sustainability features that reduce its energy and water consumption, thus saving money for the college and taxpayers. The features also reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to a healthier environment for students, faculty and staff and the community.
Green features of the TEC building include solar photovoltaic panels secured through a grant from Palm Beach County; energy efficient interior lighting that includes a tubular day lighting system and smart lighting controls; a cistern system that uses collected rainwater for toilet flushing; and the use of construction materials made with recycled content.
The Green Building Council awarded points for site sustainability, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental air quality, and innovation in design, awarding a total of 52 points to achieve the platinum level.
“Platinum LEED certification shows that the college is truly committed to creating facilities that work well for our students and for the environment,” said James Storms, assistant manager of facilities planning and construction, who led the TEC building project and LEED certification process. “It is an achievement that we all can be proud of.”
Storms noted that TEC represents the college’s first attempt at a LEED designed building. The College Facilities team had committed early on to achieving LEED certification but originally thought they could reach just the Silver level. As plans progressed, they decided to build to the Gold level specification. Then, they decided to go a step further.
“When we started adding up the points for all of the things that we do in terms of energy savings, we realized that we could achieve the platinum level, which can only be verified after a year of monitoring the building in use,” he explained.
The $9.5 million facility, designed by the Astorino architectural firm and built by Hedrick Brothers Construction Company, provides learning spaces for educational programs in corrections, criminal justice, sustainable building construction, welding, sugar technology and cosmetology.