Sustainable “Green” Design
It was a central goal of the design and construction of our buildings to minimize the impact of the site and its long-term existence on the SCBI campus, the region and the environment as a whole. All three buildings are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification level of Gold. From landscaping to water runoff to building materials, the site serves as a demonstration of how building construction, renovation and function can be done in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way. Read below to find out more details about our new sustainably-built Academic Quad.
Site: During design, many areas were identified that assisted the project in its goal of reducing the environmental impact. Primarily, the placement of the buildings as well as their overall footprint was developed to minimize the effect on rainwater runoff, grading, and vegetated open space on the site. One of the wings of the Academic Building was built as a renovation of an existing animal facility. Native plants suitable for the local climate were identified and integrated into the landscaping design. Local ride-sharing infrastructure was investigated and expanded to include the growing campus within the local bus route, and a large number of covered bicycle racks have been provided to both reduce pollution and promote healthier modes of transportation.
- Water Conservation: The most prominent landscape feature of the site is the large vegetated swale running north-south between the residential and dining halls. A large amount of the storm water runoff from the site is channeled into this garden swale where it absorbed by the native plantings. The use of native drought-tolerant species of ornamental plantings and lawn seed mix reduces the amount of potable water needed for irrigation. Potable water usage is also reduced through the use of high-efficiency plumbing fixtures in the residences and waterless urinals and metered faucets in the dining hall.
Energy Savings: The energy usage of a building is affected by various components. Insulation thicknesses were increased to reduce load demands on the mechanical systems for heating and cooling. The light color of the metal roofing reflects much of the solar radiation striking the top of the building. Low-e coated glass within large high-efficiency windows also assist in making the living environment more connected to the outside while saving energy. The largest contributor to energy conservation, the geothermal system under the buildings, is the least visible. This system utilizes the consistent temperature of the earth to assist in increasing the efficiency of the mechanical equipment.
- Construction: During construction best practices were implemented that ensured a well-constructed healthy building; materials were selected containing a low amount of potentially harmful adhesives and sealants, duct work and insulation were protected from dust and moisture, and absorptive materials such as drywall and carpet were installed after activities that may introduce harmful chemicals were completed. Materials available locally and/or containing recycled content were given preference during procurement.