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Student Center Green Features

The Student Center is the first public building in Ontario County to be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council.

LEED is a nationally recognized third-party certification program with a set of standardized performance criteria for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.

Buildings are rated based upon five performance areas: sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

The Student Center has earned points for items such as high-energy efficiency, natural lighting, healthy indoor environment, water-efficient landscaping, on-site renewable energy sources, and diverting more than 50 percent of construction waste from disposal. 

Some of the green features include:

Solar Panels

192 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the building produce approximately 43,000 kWh of electricity a year, the equivalent of powering four average homes. All electricity goes directly into the building and provides approximately 3.65% of the building's daily electricity use.

Water-efficient Landscaping

Landscaping uses low-maintenance, drought-tolerant plants and native materials. No irrigation is needed to maintain the plantings after they are established, which saves water and money. The landscape serves as an educational tool for horticulture students, in addition to the arboretum and woodlands.


Large windows and skylights maximize the natural daylight and reduce the need for artificial lighting in the dining area and second-floor student lounges. Fixed exterior sunscreens and adjustable interior shades minimize glare and solar heat gain during the summer to cut down on energy needed for air-conditioning.

Occupancy Sensors

Occupancy sensors throughout the building turn the lights off when no one is in the immediate area.

Building Envelope

The building envelope, or the outer shell, consists of walls, windows and roofing designed to save energy. The reflective white roof membrane reduces “heat island effect,” meaning less energy is required to cool the building. The walls are insulated with a mix of materials – rigid foam board for large areas, spray foam for tight spaces and fiber glass in spaces between the metal wall framing. The result is a building that exceeds today's insulation standard, or R-value, for commercial construction as well as the even higher standard for a new home.

Energy-efficient Windows

Windows are thermally broken aluminum, which means a material that doesn't conduct heat is sandwiched between the outside and inside aluminum window frames. The Student Center windows also have a low e-glazing, a microscopic metal coating that blocks solar heat from getting in and indoor heat from getting out even as it lets in as much light as possible.

Green Kiosk

A kiosk in the lobby provides real-time data regarding heating, cooling and electricity use of the Student Center. It also provides information about FLCC's sustainable practices, green tips and calculators, and a checklist of points the building has earned under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system of the U.S. Green Building Council.

HVAC Systems

Highly efficient heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems reduce energy use while providing a comfortable indoor environment. The 94% efficiency boilers reduce the amount of natural gas required for heat. Occupancy sensors throughout the building tell the HVAC control system how much to heat or cool an area. Ventilation controls monitor carbon dioxide and pull in the right amount of fresh air without taxing heating and cooling systems.

Heat Recovery System

A heat recovery system directs air that is already at room temperature into the kitchen to make up for the air leaving through exhaust fans. This reduces the need to bring in a lot of outside air and therefore the energy needed to cool hot incoming air in the summer and cold incoming air in the winter.

Low-flow Plumbing Fixtures

Low-flow bathroom plumbing fixtures such as toilets, urinals and sinks significantly reduce water use. Dual-flush toilets reduce water volume by 30% when a reduced flush is used. Low-consumption urinals reduce water volume by 50%. Low-flow lavatory faucets reduce water volume by 77% over the standard faucet. 

Water Bottle Fill-station

The Student Center has five water bottle fill stations to encourage the use of refillable bottles.

LED Lighting

Parking lots A and B have light-emitting diode, or LED, lighting, which reduces electricity use by almost 75%.

Sustainable Building Materials

All building materials were evaluated for criteria such as recycled content, regional availability, sustainable forestry practices and long life. The building consists of 95 percent recycled structural steel, stone quarried in New York, and wood that is Forestry Stewardship Council certified to be sustainably harvested. Cherry is used as a veneer because the thin panels cover a large area with less wood. Materials such as carpet, drywall and ceiling tiles were selected for high recycled content and low volatile organic compounds, or VOC's, reducing air contamination and the associated health problems.

Carpool Parking

Twenty-three parking spaces in Lot A are designated for student carpool parking by permit only. Sixty percent of FLCC's greenhouse gas emissions come from commuting.

Green Roof

The Student Center has steel supports for a green roof, a waterproof membrane covered by soil and vegetation, to be built at a later date following private fundraising. A green roof provides an additional layer of insulation, which reduces runoff by capturing rain, increases the lifespan of the roof to 50 or more years by blocking ultraviolet light and weathering, and filters pollutants such as heavy metals, nitrogen, and phosphorus out of rain. A green roof also provides another plant habitat study area for the horticulture program.

Stormwater Management

Natural elements of the FLCC campus control runoff from rain and melting snow, thereby reducing erosion into Canandaigua Lake. Pipes carry runoff under Marvin Sands Drive to a cattail marsh where a weir, or dam, releases water at a controlled rate into a series of two more marshes. Peak runoff rates into Canandaigua Lake and nearby properties are 15 percent lower than they were before the Student Center construction and just as low as they were in 1970 before the main campus was built.

Preserving Natural Lands

The overall design of the campus expansion makes better use of roadways and has a more efficient parking plan. This allowed the college to add a new building, improve pedestrian safety, and maintain the same number of parking spaces with only minimal use of undeveloped land. The total area covered by either buildings or pavement has increased by less than a quarter of an acre.

Kitchen Equipment

High efficiency kitchen equipment is used in the cafeteria, and the refrigeration system uses coolant with no chlorofluorocarbons (CFC's), which deplete the protective ozone layer.