University of Florida’s Research and Academic Center First KBR Building Group Project to Earn LEED Platinum, the Highest Honor in LEED Certification
October 2, 2013

The University of Florida’s Research and Academic Center, constructed by KBR Building Group and dedicated last November, has achieved LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. This is of special significance for KBR Building Group as it marks the company’s first project to be certified at the Platinum level — the highest honor in LEED Certification.

Later this month, KBR Building Group's project team will be presented with the 2013 ABC Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction in the category, Institutional — $20 to $50 million, by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Central Florida.  UF's Research and Academic Center is also a Finalist for ABC's Project of the Year. Next month, KBR Building Group will be receiving a Best of 2013 Award - Higher Education/Research category - from Engineering News-Record's Southeast Region.

Sited within Florida’s 600-acre Lake Nona Science & Technology Park near Orlando, UF’s Research and Academic Center is one of the University’s first major research facilities to be constructed outside its Gainesville “home.” KBR Building Group’s Florida regional office in Orlando provided preconstruction and construction services for the four-story, 115,000-square-foot facility. The project’s architect of record is HOK. AEI served as the Engineer and TLC as the Commissioning Agent.

“The project was originally designed to achieve LEED Gold, but the project team exceeded expectations and the facility met the criteria for Platinum,” said Ron Whalen, LEED® AP, Vice President, KBR Building Group. “The Sanford Burnham Institute for Medical Research that we constructed a few years ago was the first building at the Medical City at Lake Nona to achieve LEED Gold. To achieve LEED Platinum at the University of Florida Research and Academic Center right next door is an amazing accomplishment that truly speaks to capabilities of our company and the entire team.”

UF’s Research and Academic Center includes space for research, laboratories, academic, office, conference and support areas to facilitate the University of Florida’s mission at Lake Nona. It is home to UF’s College of Pharmacy, Orlando, which relocated from its existing location in nearby Apopka. Among the building’s special features is an elaborate stainless steel sunshade element on the west elevation that contributes to heat load reduction, increasing energy efficiency. State-of-the-art mechanical systems were required to support the facility and its lab spaces. Systems incorporate many energy-efficient features including one of the first applications of “chilled beams” in the state of Florida, as well as energy recovery units.

Carol Walker, LEED AP, Assistant Vice President for UF Planning, Design & Construction, commented that “Designing and constructing the Academic & Research Center at Lake Nona as a high performance facility and earning LEED Platinum is a testament to the significant efforts of the Project Team of KBR, HOK, AEI & TLC. Many thanks to the project team and Bahar Armaghani, UF LEED Program Director, for their hard work and commitment to UF’s sustainability goals."