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Acclaimed Myrtle Beach Culinary Institute at HGTC was built with energy conservation in mind

International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach

Joshua Floyd, a freshman from Conway, whisks batter as Dylan Smarrella, a freshman from Myrtle Beach, adds more liquid to the base. The two were working on a final project during a recent class at the International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach on the Horry Georgetown Technical College campus in The Market Common District.

MYRTLE BEACH — Natural daylight shines down the main hallway of Horry Georgetown Technical College’s International Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach in the city’s The Market Common district.

But their conservation of energy doesn’t stop there.

The circumference of the walls around the main conference room, built to resemble a chef’s hat, is half glass, with natural daylight even shining through the curtains. As is the case with its main classroom and dining area.

It’s no mistake that the building isn’t lit with traditional fluorescent lights glowing in the halls, its kitchens or its main classroom. Conservation of energy and sustainability has been part of the fiber of the vision to build the school and has been worked into its curriculum to ensure its students know the importance of recycling, composting and conserving energy as they leave the school’s doors and enter the hospitality workforce.

It’s so much a part of the school’s lifestyle that it received the Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Award. The award is presented on behalf of the U.S. Green Building Council for achieving the silver certification under the LEED 2009 New Construction and Major Renovations rating system.

“It’s really about realizing the footprint that we leave,” said Joe Bonaparte, executive director for the culinary institute. “This design was done purposely in working with the architect and thinking about curriculum and thinking about trying to train young cooks and young foodservice and hospitality people to maybe think more worldly and more holistically. Think of community and about how it impacts the world. It’s more than just the footprint. It’s really just trying to be a good member of the community and of the world you live in. You’re a caretaker as opposed to somebody who is just using it up.”

HGTC students and staff moved into the 30,000-square-foot, $15 million facility in 2017.

The culinary institute, which now has 150 culinary, baking and pastry students, offers associate degrees in culinary arts technology and baking and pastry arts, as well as certificates in kitchen and food preparation techniques, and professional cooking.

The building features the latest in cooking technology and equipment, including two teaching kitchens, two baking labs, a bake shop, a demonstration kitchen, a chef’s dining room, a teaching dining room with conditioned wine storage, a production kitchen with a bar, exposed cooking suite and hearth oven, an outdoor BBQ and dining area, a greenhouse, administrative spaces and central storage for dry storage and walk-in coolers/freezer.

Myrtle Beach-based architects Mozingo+Wallace designed the facility.

Derrick Mozingo said the assignment from HGTC was to make the culinary institute architecturally significant in an effort to bring a more solid identity to the campus while creating a standard for future buildings.

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Following strict LEED guidelines, Mozingo said the building was graded on how the energy is managed through control systems, the use of LED lighting throughout the building, the use very efficient heat pumps, boilers and systems that conserve energy. The institute uses types of geothermal systems from a heating and cooling standpoint that utilizes groundwater to make heating and cooling the building more efficient.

Mozingo said the institute uses a white PVC membrane roof that reflects heat from the sun to make it more efficient to keep the building cool, as well as using premium energy glazings on the glass. They were also graded on using materials that were brought in within a several hundred mile radius.

LEED ratings, as determined by a point system issued by a LEED manager, go as high as platinum then gold and silver. The higher ratings involve unique attributes that didn't pertain to the HGTC campus, like a Brownfield site or properties that are connected to a network of transit systems.

"Some of those things we couldn't get because of where we are and who we are," Mozingo said. "It's a pretty comprehensive checklist and getting one of these certifications is challenging."

"We're appreciative that the owner saw the necessity because you can only do what the client will allow you to do and they gave us the means to accomplish the end result of a beautiful building and an energy-efficient building," Mozingo said. "So we're very proud of it."

Marilyn Murph Fore, HGTC president, said she was proud of the accomplishment and how the college “demonstrates leadership in transforming the building industry.”

“We are teaching students at ICI social responsibility and how to turn a passion for food into a passion for sustainability,” she said.

Aside from the design of the institute, the school installed recycle bins and composting bins, which has allowed them to reduce its trash receptacle by half its regular size. Aspiring chefs are also making an effort to combat food waste by utilizing the entirety of every ingredient in their kitchens through the Waste Not program, a campaign launched by the James Beard Foundation to encourage cooks to reduce food waste.

It also participates in the Smart Catch program — an “educational sustainable seafood program created by chefs for chefs with the purpose of increasing the sustainability of the seafood supply chain,” according to its website.

“We spend a lot of time and a lot of effort, really, on sourcing ingredients and sharing that information with the students and trying to get them to carry that mindset,” Bonaparte said. “As a school, we really try to adopt that philosophy of being more holistic and not just we’re turning out a fry cook.”

The school also has a greenhouse out back, as well as a garden.

“We try to have as much commitment to the technique we’re applying and what we’re teaching the students,” Bonaparte said. “Whether it’s cleaning, the work ethic, the cooking or sourcing the ingredient. And the taste and the look, obviously. So all those things that tie together to try and do something in a quality-minded fashion.”

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