ROCK HILL, S.C. - Winthrop officials learned this month that the Lois Rhame West Health, Physical Education and Wellness Center is officially a certified green building.
The West Center, which opened in fall 2007, recently earned the silver classification in the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System.
“We began this process years before it was required for state construction, because Winthrop has a long history of energy conservation,” said Walter Hardin, associate vice president for facilities management. “Winthrop is on the leading edge in a lot of areas — not only in academic programs but with its physical components as well.”
The center is first Winthrop building to be certified and will be featured as a case study on the Web sites for the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Green Building Council.
Hardin said the LEED classifications are a third party verification of sustainability. The designation distinguishes high performance buildings that have less of an impact on the environment, are healthier for those who work and/or live in the building, and are more profitable than their conventional counterparts. Hardin said the university learned from the process how to incorporate energy-saving measures into other buildings.
The LEED certification system evaluates buildings based on six environmental categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design.
This is the second green honor for the West Center. Last April, the West Center won a 2008 Green Award in the green commercial new construction project category by the Charlotte Business Journal and the U.S. Green Building Council Charlotte region chapter.
For more specific information about the West Center’s sustainability, visit the “Green Features” page on www.winthrop.edu/westcenter.