In more ways than one, Clemson University's Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics stands alone. Not only is it home to the only academic discipline that combines both packaging science and graphic communications, but the structure is the first on campus to seek LEED Gold certification.
Materials used to construct the Sonoco Institute incorporated a vast amount of recycled content, such as the floors made from 20 percent fly ash, and the interior tile and carpet. Other components, such as the brick and stone, were locally sourced. In addition, trees that were cut down on the construction site were transformed into benches placed throughout the interior of the building.
The site was planned so that sunlight could be the primary source of light for the classrooms. Sensors were put in place that recognize any deficiency in the natural lighting, and prompt lights to turn on if needed. The southwest corner of the building is made almost entirely of glass, and harbors sunscreens to inhibit the absorption of the sun's hot rays. A canopy overhang and a large, preserved oak tree also offer shade to the building.
Just as the packaging industry has begun to embrace the sustainability movement, the Sonoco Institute itself reflects the shift and will likely inspire further green practices among Clemson Packaging Science students.