Going green. Everyone‘s doing it seems. The University of South Florida (USF) is noexception. USF President Genshaft signed the American College and University President‘s
Climate Commitment in April 2008 putting USF on the path to a greener, more sustainablefuture. Beyond changing light bulbs and locking down thermostats, USF has embraced aspecific building design ethic: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). Butdo the costs to be LEED-certified translate into long-term cost savings to the university?
USF‘s green initiatives go above and beyond many universities. These initiatives have
attracted attention as well as earned the university many awards. The school has institutional programs led by the Office of Sustainability as well as student groups leading the way increating a more eco-friendly and cost-effective campus. These efforts contributed to USF being
one of a handful of universities nationwide bestowed an institutional ―gold‖ rating from theAssociation for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the nation‘s leadingadvocacy group for the green campus movement. ―The gold STARS rating USF received proves that we are truly ‗green‘ and gold,‖ said E. Christian Wells, Director of USF‘s Office of
Sustainability. Of course, this commitment to going green includes the decision to build newcampus buildings to LEED specifications.The origins of LEED come from the Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization,United States Green Building Council (USGBC). They set internationally recognized green building design and sustainability standards. Building owners can go beyond building thesestandards and actually be LEED-certified at various levels depending on the amount of LEED-standards adhered to during the construction phase of the building. These costs typically vary between 3.1 to 11-
percent of a building‘s total cost –
sometimes even up to 30 percent.