Medford's RCC/SOU Higher Education Center has received an advanced certification for environmentally friendly construction from the U.S. Green Building Council, joining an elite league of universities in the western United States, SOU officials say.

Medford's RCC/SOU Higher Education Center has received an advanced certification for environmentally friendly construction from the U.S. Green Building Council, joining an elite league of universities in the western United States, SOU officials say.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Platinum certification is internationally recognized and involves third-party verification that a building was constructed using strategies aimed at saving energy, water and other resources, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and improving indoor air quality.

The three-story, 68,700-square-foot center, which opened in September 2008, features heat wheels that transfer energy from exhaust air to preheat and precool fresh air, occupancy sensors that control light, heating and air-conditioning use and a 56-kilowatt solar array on the roof that produces 6 percent of the building's power supply.

Larry Blake, SOU planning and sustainability officer, has been heading up the certification process for the past four years.

— Paris Achen