The University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Laboratory, which houses biology, chemistry and physics labs, has earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It is the first building in the USF System to receive this recognition: Platinum is the highest and hardest certification to earn from the world’s most widely used green building rating system. Only about 10 to 15 percent of buildings worldwide have earned this distinction in sustainable design and construction.
“Planning, constructing and operating the first building in the USF System to earn LEED Platinum is another example of our commitment to sustainability at USF St. Petersburg and our drive to be recognized as ‘Florida’s Green Campus.’ It is representative of the sustainable culture we not only teach, but also practice,” said Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock.
This is the fourth building at USF St. Petersburg to earn LEED certification. The Science and Technology building, the University Student Center, and Lynn Pippenger Hall all received LEED Gold Certification in recent years.
At the site of the now modern Warehouse Laboratory once stood an old Greyhound bus service station, where buses were cleaned and repaired. USF acquired the property in 2014 and soon began remodeling the existing structure by adding a new roof, putting in an efficient heating/air system, enhancing insulation throughout the building, and improving the external facade.
The building totals more than 10,500 square feet and now consists of a fully integrated chemistry lab, two pure biology labs, and one lab that can be converted between biology and physics, along with two prep rooms. The labs have been in heavy use since their opening more than a year ago, hosting most of the university’s science classes.
“Sustainability is an ideal, where we try to extend the life cycle of something or produce something that minimizes impact on the environment and natural resources,” said Ed Lewis, Construction Project Manager at USF St. Petersburg. “For this project, we were in a sense recycling a derelict building in order to prolong its life and make it more functional, environmentally friendly and energy efficient.”