Thursday, January 11, 2018

New Student Union: Commitment to Environmental Excellence

Environmental considerations were fundamental in the design of the University of Illinois Springfield Student Union.

Key elements include a green roof, energy efficiency, use of recycled and sustainable building materials, native plants for landscaping, and seeking LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating and certification system is the industry’s gold-standard for the design and construction of environmentally sustainable buildings that incorporate strategies to reduce energy and water usage, promote better indoor air quality and improve the quality of life of the building’s occupants.

Chuck Coderko is the Associate Chancellor of Administrative Affairs, Facilities and Services at UIS. He oversaw and led the university’s efforts in the design and construction of the building. He says, “A LEED certification is a highly sought-after achievement for newly constructed buildings and large renovation projects on the UIS campus. Environmentally friendly practices have huge benefits for UIS. The role higher education institutions play in environmental stewardship can have a significant impact today and in future generations. The education and habits we can pass onto the students, facility, staff and surrounding community on how to live a more sustainable life can significantly reduce the environmental impact society as a whole has on the environment.”

Coderko says that environmental benefits realized by building “green” sustainable buildings and facilities have been measured and proven to provide several tangible and non-tangible benefits to a community. Sustainable buildings help to preserve our environment and avoid the depletion of the earth’s natural resources. They also help to reduce operating costs, optimize the life cycle of the building, increase property values, improve the comfort and health of building occupants, improve workers’ attendance and productivity, minimize strain on local infrastructure and create an aesthetically pleasing environment.

The living vegetated roof is a significant design feature of the building, which will be visible from various locations.

A rainwater reclamation system will reduce storm runoff and eliminate water irrigation.

Twenty percent of the building is constructed with recycled materials.

The lighting system is highly efficient, and design features take advantage of natural and ambient light.

This story appeared in The Illinois Times on January 11, 2018.

Read the entire article online.