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Francis Center earns LEED Silver Certification

The home of Elon University's School of Health Sciences is the 10th LEED-certified building on campus.

The Gerald L. Francis Center


The Gerald L. Francis Center on East Haggard Avenue serves as the home of Elon University's School of Health Sciences, a place where graduate students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Physician Assistant Studies programs learn using cutting-edge technology.

And the Francis Center now holds another distinction as the 10th LEED-certified building on campus.

By achieving LEED Silver certification through its renovation and operational practices, the Francis Center takes into consideration the health of people impacted by the building’s use, its impact on the environment and its impact on the regional economy, said Jessica Bilecki, the university's education and outreach coordinator in the Office of Sustainability.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED certification is an internationally recognized standard for sustainable design and construction. Buildings receive the distinction based on criteria for sustainable site consideration, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials use and disposal, indoor environmental quality and innovation.

The Office of Sustainability, in recognition of the university's 10th LEED-certified building, compiled a "top ten" list of sustainable features at the Francis Center.

10. Education. Tours are available upon request, and a website dedicated to the sustainable features of the building help educate people about the existence and relevance of special building features. In addition, anyone will be able to view the building’s real-time energy use on the Building Dashboard.

9. Low Emissions Transportation. By providing shower facilities, bike racks and low-emitting vehicle (LEV) parking, the site encourages the use of no or low emission vehicles. LEVs are not limited to hybrids. The university maintains a list of approved LEV vehicles. In addition, there are BioBus stops nearby to provide easy access to the center of campus.

8. Indoor Air Quality. Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) products were used throughout the building, and several furniture pieces are GREENGUARD certified, ensuring they contain low amounts of chemicals and particle emissions.

7. Green Cleaning. This program includes the use of cleaning products that have low chemical content, vacuum cleaners with high-filtration systems to maintain healthy indoor air quality, and waste reduction through the use of bulk dispensing systems and reusable cloths.

6. Recycled Content (19%). About 19 percent of new building materials, including steel, drywall and carpet, contain recycled content.

5. Sustainably Harvested Wood (87%). Almost 87 percent of the building’s wood-based building materials are Forest Stewardship Council-certified products. This means the wood products come from forests managed to the “highest environmental and social standards”.

4. Energy Efficiency (20%). The renovated building uses just over 20 percent less energy than previously thanks to efficient lighting and windows, insulation, occupancy sensors and efficient heating and cooling systems.

3. Water Efficiency (41%). Dual flush toilets, low-flow shower heads and low-flow, automated faucets reduce potable (water that is safe to drink) water use by 41 percent.

2. Reuse (95%). Renovations incorporated the use of 95 percent of existing structural elements like walls, the foundation, and roofing.

1. Construction Waste Diversion (96%). Those who managed the disposal of onsite-generated construction waste kept 96.6 percent of waste from going to the landfill.

Bilecki said that building to LEED-certified standards demonstrates Elon’s continued commitment to sustainability and ensures better health and well-being for people and the ecosystems that support its community.

For more information on Elon’s sustainable construction practices, review the Green Building Policy or visit the Office of Sustainability website.

Eric Townsend,
3/19/2013 9:27 AM