University of Florida's William R. Hough Hall: Gainesville, FL
Ajax Building Corporation
The University of Florida has been incorporating sustainable design in its new construction projects since 2001, but it tried a new approach in 2011 with the construction of a graduate business studies building. In lieu of chasing LEED points, the project focused on energy-saving strategies that result in long-term savings without adding more up-front costs. The result: a LEED Gold building that uses 42% less energy than the baseline. Ample daylighting, breakout study rooms, lounges, lockers and a convenience store make it one of the most popular buildings on campus. A solar hot-water system is the primary source of domestic water heating. Efficient plumbing fixtures and drought-tolerant landscaping help reduce water use.