The Savannah Branch of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) presented a LEED® Gold Certification plaque to the Marine and Coastal Science Research and Instructional Center (MCSRIC) at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography on Tuesday, October 19.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies intended to improve performance in areas such as energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.
“From very beginning of the planning process, it was important for us to design and build a facility that adhered to the best environmental standards,” said Skidaway Institute director Jim Sanders. “We thank the U.S. Green Building Council for recognizing our efforts.”
The building’s orientation minimizes its east-west exposure which reduces the heat it absorbs from the sun. This orientation is one reason the MCSRIC is 31 percent more energy efficient than a comparable building. Its courtyard, roof and sidewalks are organic or reflect the sun’s energy, further reducing the amount of heat the building will absorb.
The layout of the MCSRIC’s interior minimizes the building’s perimeter, reducing the energy and heat that can leak into or out of the building. The common work areas and the central hallway are open to the roof and have a row of upper windows running the length of the building. This allows natural night to flood the building on sunny days and saves on lighting energy.
Other “green” characteristics of the building include a solar hot water heating system, a 1,000 gallon cistern to capture rainwater for various uses, six-inch foam insulation and energy efficient windows.
The MCSRIC contains 11,000 square-feet of state-of-the-art research laboratories and offices, space for visiting scientists, and instructional space for marine science students from throughout the University System of Georgia. It was funded with a $5 million dollar appropriation approved by the Georgia General Assembly in 2006 and signed by Governor Sonny Perdue.
The architect for the MCSRIC was Lord, Aeck & Sargent, Inc.. The construction manager was Choate Construction. Engineering work was done by Hussey, Gay, Bell & DeYoung International Inc., and Nottingham, Brook & Pennington, Inc.