PBSC Building Earns LEED Certification

Palm Beach State College’s Public Safety Training Center on the Lake Worth campus has been awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices.

The Public Safety Training Center, which was completed in April 2013, earned gold certification for its successful use of methods to conserve energy, water and resources. Winning strategies include super-insulated walls, roofs and windows, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow water fixtures, materials with low VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and use of regional and recycled materials. The result reduces greenhouse gas emissions, preserves natural resources, creates a healthier environment and saves money on annual operating costs.

Savings on electrical costs have been dramatic. A new central energy plant, built concurrently with the Public Safety Training Center, was designed to power not only the center, but also three other building complexes on the Lake Worth campus.

“We added 140,000 square feet of new construction and our energy consumption went down by over 1.1 million kilowatt hours,” Facilities Director John Wasukanis said. “It just runs so efficiently that we actually reduced our overall electrical consumption on the Lake Worth campus by almost 21 percent, saving the college approximately $132,000 in the first year of operation.”

Earning LEED certifications is nothing new for PBSC. The highest LEED certification, platinum, was earned in 2012 for the Technical Education Center on the Belle Glade campus. The TEC building was the first in the Florida College System to achieve this highest designation. The Center for Bachelor’s Programs on the Lake Worth campus is currently under LEED review.

The college’s commitment to sustainability will grow even stronger on the new fifth campus in Loxahatchee Groves, where Wasukanis and his team are starting with a clean slate.

“We’re looking at a lot of exciting technologies that will put us on the cutting edge,” said James Storms, PBSC’s assistant manager of facilities planning and construction, and a LEED-accredited professional. “We’re studying the feasibility of creating a ‘net zero campus,’ which is a term that means you produce as much energy as you use.”

Wasukanis is excited about the prospect. “We’re looking to push energy conservation and college building further than we ever have before,” he said.

The Public Safety Training Center, designed by Stephen Boruff Architects + Planners Inc. and built by Balfour Beatty Construction, is also one of 58 buildings nominated for the People’s Choice Award competition held by the Florida Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Serving 48,000 students, Palm Beach State College is the largest institution of higher education in Palm Beach County. For info., visit www.palmbeachstate.edu.