We should take pride in new LEED buildings

Brittany Walker

This fall semester, students arrived to Georgia Southern University to find three new buildings in line to receive the Gold LEED Certification. It is something every Eagle should be proud of. To obtain the necessary points for the Gold LEED Certification, the Biological Sciences Building, Main Commons Dining and Lakeside Commons Dining must display an impressive number of sustainable features. Some of the features – between the different buildings – include extensive natural lighting, bioswales for overflow regulation, solar panels, natural vegetation for landscaping, reduced water usage toilets, rain chains and sustainable building materials. The new buildings on campus will join the ranks of other notable Gold LEED Certified buildings, including the Empire State Building and the largest “green” building in the world, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Plans have been made for an electronic display in the Biological Sciences Building that will show water usage and electricity usage in real time. This not only inspires environmentally friendly behaviors by faculty and staff, it showcases the large reductions in water and electricity usage.

The original goal was for the new Biological Sciences Building to earn a Silver LEED Certification. Surpassing this goal is not only impressive; it shows Georgia Southern University’s strong commitment to sustainability in both the present and future. Environmentally friendly practices have been present on the campus in past years also. Some of the many years-old features on campus include permeable paving (for rainwater absorption and filtration), white roofing, an extensive recycling program, bioswales, native vegetation, and the LEED certified RAC.  However, with completion of the three Gold LEED buildings, along with last semester’s passing of the Green Fee with the highest percentage of all the proposed fees, Georgia Southern has been solidified as an exceptional example of a sustainably minded university. In Georgia and across the nation, universities should look to Georgia Southern for inspiration and direction in their environmentally friendly practices.

Georgia Southern’s commitment to sustainability grows in tandem with its growth in enrollment, infrastructure and influence. It has been refreshing and inspiring to witness over my four years here at Georgia Southern. I graduate this semester, and I feel confident that when I come back to visit I will have even more reason to be proud to be an alumnus from Georgia Southern University.