Tampa's University of South Florida (USF) has opened its first fully constructed sustainable building.
The Patel Center for Global Solutions
boasts countertops crafted of recycled steel shavings, glass and resin; toilets that flush with captured rainwater and condensation collected from the air conditioning system, and landscaping comprised of drought-tolerant plants. Its 30,000-gallon recycled water tank is located below ground and its lighting systems are motion controlled. Even the carpets are laid with partially used carpets.
The center houses the Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions and the School of Global Sustainability, and will serve as a living educational model for green building techniques and materials.
"We are setting a regional standard that we hope will be matched by other Bay area institutions in the years to come," says Christian Wells, Director of USF's Office of Sustainability. USF
President Judy Genshaft signed the American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment
in 2008, thereby obligating the university to consider how the environment was being treated and do something about it.
"This is an important ethic to teach our students," says Wells. "Because in the next 20 years they will see more changes to the world than have occurred over the past century. They need to be prepared for this new world.
"Our next step is to better understand how the campus environment works so that we can identify and address sources of waste and inefficiency," says Wells. "We are completing a self-reporting assessment tool to identify the ways that USF is and is not sustainable, from campus buildings and maintenance to the curriculum and community outreach. Students and faculty in our new School of Global Sustainability will be using this report to help map the campus ecosystem so we can learn how our infrastructure connects with the local environment."
Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Christian Wells, USF Office of Sustainability