Architects, engineers, consultants and advocates gathered Thursday in the Sonoco Pavilion at the Darla Moore School of Business for a dual celebration. This year, the South Carolina Green Building Council (SCGBC) marked its tenth year – an accomplishment for a state seemingly behind the green infrastructure curve – by merging the chapter with the national organization USGBC. USGBC is a non-profit that promotes sustainable building practices and is best known for developing the Leadership in Energy and Design (LEED) standards.
The educational forum’s apropos location set the agenda for the second half of the event. In January, the Darla Moore School of Business was awarded the Platinum LEED certification, the highest tier of sustainable building standards. Wendy Hennessy, Executive Administrator and Project Manager for the school, said the decision to go Platinum was made early in the design process. “We consider our school to be the best and we wanted to deliver the best. (The University) planned from the beginning to go Platinum, or it wasn’t worth doing at all.”
Sustainable building is on the rise nationwide, citing benefits to the health and well-being of the environment and occupants. South Carolina is no exception, growing from 3 certified projects in 2006 to 29 in 2016, and 382 projects registered to date. Currently, South Carolina requires many large facility projects that are majority state-funded – such as state office or public university buildings – to be LEED Silver certified.