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      SC ranks 5th among states for LEED green buildings

      COLUMBIA (WACH) -- South Carolina ranks fifth on the U.S. Green Building Council TMs top ten list for LEED-certified buildings per capita.

      LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system intended to improve performance in categories, such as emissions reduction, energy savings and water efficiency.

      West Quad on USC TMs campus is one example of a LEED-certified building.

      The residence hall uses 40 percent less energy compared to other facilities and saves the school around $60,000 a year in utility costs, according to Michael Koman, USC TMs sustainability director.

      West Quad was the school TMs first LEED-certified building built in 2004.

      Koman adds at that time there were no LEED accredited professionals or green-design architects in South Carolina, but a lot has changed since then.

      A lot of times you will hear about South Carolina being last to pick up on things, so it is nice for to be in top of the nation as far as adopting new and emerging trends in construction, says Josh Boltinhouse with the South Carolina Green Building Council.

      The cost to build a LEED-certified building depends on the square footage, however, it can add up to three percent on to your total construction costs.

      USC has several more projects in the works. Both Clemson and Furman are also involved in sustainable building practices.