Southwest College Of Naturopathic Medicine Earns Leed® Green Building Certification

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SCNM’s efforts in sustainability helped achieve LEED-platinum status for Community Commons

The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine (SCNM) is proud to announce its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-platinum certification, an 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 the 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.

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. Some of the building’s sustainable strategies include low-flow plumbing fixtures to reduce domestic potable water use, solar-covered shaded parking, reflective roofing to reduce the Urban Heat Island effect, an enhanced HVAC system to reduce environmental and economic impacts of excessive energy use, and a Green Building Education Program to inform the community about sustainable features of the building.

In addition, by recycling construction waste, the project diverted more than 2,100 tons of debris from landfills. SCNM also utilized materials with high-recycled content and sourced many of the building elements locally. One of SCNM’s primary goals was to create a healthy learning environment for students, staff and visitors, which was accomplished through specification of materials with low VOC content and no added urea formaldehyde. The Green Cleaning Program reduces occupants’ exposure to toxic chemicals and airborne particles.

As a result of these efforts, SCNM’s Community Commons Building earned 80 out of 110 LEED points. Plus, the efforts have led to 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.

About SCNM: The Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences trains future physicians to focus on prevention, wellness and lifestyle changes, which addresses the root cause of the majority of the problems plaguing Americans. Located in Tempe, and founded in 1993, SCNM is an accredited higher-learning institution offering a four-year medical program. Adjacent to the college, the SCNM Medical Center is the largest naturopathic medical center in the Southwest and offers family and primary care using integrative modalities such as acupuncture, homeopathy, clinical nutrition, botanical medicine, manipulation, and pharmacology. It has more than 40 doctors and more than 200 student clinicians. For more information, visit

About LEED: LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program for buildings and communities that guides their design, construction, operations and maintenance toward sustainability. It’s based on prerequisites and credits that a project meets to achieve a certification level: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. LEED regularly undergoes evaluations and other improvements, whether through clarification of specific credit’s language, an adaptation to an existing rating system, or a comprehensive update to an entire suite of rating systems.
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