Thursday, February 12 2009
We congratulate the University of Evansville for taking the extra step and ensuring that the new addition to the university has been constructed to LEED specifications. This makes it one of the 14 buildings in the State of Indiana that have LEED certifications, a certification which promotes construction that is environmentally friendly
UE School of Business wins green building honor
When students breathe inside an addition to the University of Evansville’s business school, sensors detect the carbon dioxide exhaled and let more fresh air in.
When they leave a classroom, a similar device turns down the heat or air conditioning. Other sensors switch off the lights.
The Schroeder Family School of Business Administration Building on the campus of the University of Evansville, has been certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building by the U.S. Green Building Council, making it the first in Vanderburgh County and one of 14 buildings in Indiana. LEED is the US Green Building Council's program that promotes construction that is environmentally friendly.
Because of these systems and others, an addition to the university’s Schroeder School of Business Administration earned a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The honor, bestowed by the U.S. Green Building Council, goes to buildings whose design helps to protect the environment and the health of those working inside.
Bob Clark, dean of the business school, said the university was trying to set an example by securing the first LEED certification in the community.
“We recognized this building would have an impact on the environment in its design and construction phase, as well as in its future,” Clark said.
The addition, containing about 37,000 square feet of space, gave the university more classroom space and a lecture hall where community meetings could take place. Work on it began in 2005 and it opened in 2007.
But the LEED certification didn’t come until late 2008. The delay shows how complicated of an affair securing the honor is, said Ron Steinhart, a principal with Hafer Associates, the lead architecture firm on the project.
Steinhart said the designers had to balance the needs of meeting the LEED standards, building an addition that met the university’s purpose and staying within the budget. It would be wrong, though, to assume the project was especially expensive.
Steinhart estimated that all of the LEED improvement only added a cost of about 1 percent of the original budget. Through savings on energy, the project should pay for itself fairly soon, he said.
Steinhart listed a number of other steps taken to obtain the LEED certification. They included:
— Making an existing exterior wall of the old school of business serve as an interior wall inside the addition.
— Installing numerous windows to let in natural light.
— Installing low-flow faucets in the bathrooms and toilets whose use of water varies according to need.
— Using recycled materials in the floor and other parts of the structure.
Steinhart estimated those measures will lower the building’s use of water by 33 percent and use of electricity by 23 percent. About 16 tons of coal will be saved each year.
Another benefit concerns the happiness of those inside. Studies have found that students and workers are more content to be in LEED-certified buildings than standard ones.
Danny Bateman, president of ARC Construction, said the builders also obtained as many as the construction materials as they could from nearby places and took steps to prevent waste from being dumped into landfills.
Steinhart said attempts are afoot to obtain LEED certification for a number of other buildings in the community. They include the University of Evansville’s Ridgeway Center, the Ronald McDonald House being built on Washington Avenue and an Evansville Vanderburgh School Corp. technology and innovation center.