Home / The SCNM Experience / SCNM Campus / SCNM LEED Certified Community Commons Building

SCNM LEED Certified Community Commons Building

SCNM LEED Certified Community Commons Building

The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) Community Commons building has a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-platinum certification, the highest honor awarded for using best-in-class building strategies and practices.

The LEED rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a program for buildings, homes and communities that are designed, constructed, maintained and operated for improved environmental and human health performance.

To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. LEED-certified buildings save money and resources, and they also have a positive impact on the health of occupants while promoting renewable, clean energy. Achieving LEED-platinum status requires an extensive review process, and the building must reach the highest category of credits. Very few buildings reach platinum status, as it is the top-tier certification.

SCNM’s Community Commons Building is a 48,000-square-foot, state-of-the art education facility that houses the SCNM Medicinary, the Pain Relief Center, a teaching kitchen, a fitness center and yoga studio, classrooms, and a library open to the public.

Here are some of the features of the Community Commons and its construction process that make it LEED Platinum certified:

  • Low-flow toilets and plumbing fixtures in the restrooms reduce use of water by 20%.
  • All paints, adhesives, and composite wood used in the construction of the building are non-toxic, low VOC building materials. These contribute to a clean, non-toxic space for students, patients, and staff.
  • All water fountains in the Community Commons building have a bottle refilling station to help keep waste out of the community’s landfills.
  • The landscaping around the building utilizes low water zeroscape and indigenous plants to reduce water use by 50%.
  • Many building materials used for the Community Commons were sourced within 500 miles.
  • Preferred parking for hybrid and electric vehicles is provided to encourage use of more energy efficient transportation.
  • The roof of the building has been constructed to reduce urban heat sprawl.
  • The Community Commons only uses LED lighting and motion sensor switches to drastically reduce energy consumption.
  • The air conditioning units in the Community Commons recycle 60% of fresh outside air to support occupant health and conserve energy.
  • The building is within walking distance to public transportation and other services to reduce automobile use.
  • There are bicycle racks outdoors as well as shower rooms inside the building to encourage alternatives to automobile use.
  • Glass in the Community Commons building is UV resistant and multi-paned for energy efficiency.
  • 20% of materials used in the construction of the building were composed of recycled content.
  • 75% of waste generated from the construction of the building was recycled and/or salvaged.
  • Recycling bins are placed throughout the Community Commons to reduce waste in landfills.
  • The products used to clean the Community Commons building are all environmentally friendly.

By recycling construction waste, the project diverted more than 2,100 tons of debris from landfills. One of SCNM’s primary goals was to create a healthy learning environment for all students, staff and visitors, which was accomplished through specification of materials with low VOC content and no added urea formaldehyde. This attention to clean materials as well as the Green Cleaning Program reduces occupants’ exposure to toxic chemicals and airborne particles.

“Achieving LEED Platinum certification for SCNM’s Community Commons Building demonstrates tremendous leadership in the green building movement,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC. “Given the extraordinary importance of climate protection and the central role of buildings in that effort, SCNM’s Community Commons Building achievement demonstrates its commitment to resource conservation and a sustainable built environment for all within this generation.”

As a result of these efforts, the Community Commons Building earned 80 out of a possible 110 LEED points. In addition, the buildings design has created a 77-percent reduction of potable water for irrigation, a 46-percent reduction of potable water for domestic use and a 65-percent energy cost savings above ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standard.

SCNM would like to acknowledge Standard Homeopathic Company & Hyland’s for the company’s generous gift supporting the LEED sponsorship of the Community Commons Building.