Energy Efficiency Showcased in New Science Center
August 18, 2009


In addition to building a Science Center that meets our curricular and research needs, the College sought to ensure that the new facility, which will be dedicated Thursday, September 24, has a high level of energy efficiency.

Aware that modern buildings consume about 36 percent of all the energy used in the United States, we integrated many green, high performance or sustainable features into the Science Center. We also minimized water usage, reduced green house gases, and deployed recycled material.

Clunkers for Steel:
Recycled old cars constitute 95 percent of the structural steel framing while the carpet and countertops in many locations are made of 40 percent recycled material.

Less Pollution:
On the heating and cooling fronts, we used high performance fume hoods to reduce the amount of air exhausted from the labs. As a result, the boilers and air handlers use less energy and emit less pollution.

Filtering Water Runoff:
Working to reduce the building's impact on the surrounding area, we made sure that storm water runoff from the Science Center is filtered by retention basins on the east and west sides of the building. These basins are also planted with native, wildlife- friendly vegetation, which improves storm water quality as it moves towards Ames Pond and the wetlands west of the building.

Reducing Water Usage:
Drinkable water usage is reduced by incorporating low water use fixtures throughout the building and waterless urinals in the men's restrooms.

Solar Savings:
The Atrium in the front entrance of the Science Center has a glass wall that runs from floor to ceiling. With so much glass on a south facing wall, we ran the risk of excessive heat gain in the summer. To help solve this issue, we created a roof overhang to shield the glass when the summer sun is shining high in the sky. This feature also ensures direct sunlight enters during the winter when the sun is lower. High efficiency glazing in this wall also reduces the solar heat gain.

Roof-Top Garden:
The soil and plants in the roof-top garden over the Atrium reduce the cooling load on the Atrium and slows the run-off from that portion of the roof. (Photo by Tim Correira, Enterprise.)

Light and Learning:
The Science Center's large windows allow the daylight to penetrate deeply into its rooms, providing maximum benefit to students and faculty. Studies show that students in naturally lit environments score higher on tests than students in artificially lit spaces. The availability of good natural light also reduces the electrical demand for artificial light.

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