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IUPUI pursues green buildings, saving resources and helping to transform building market

February 7, 2017

Sustainability infographic

University Hall has become the fifth officially certified green building on campus, reflecting a commitment to sustainable construction by Indiana University. A sixth IUPUI building is expected to join that list later this year.

The buildings are rated under a system devised in 2000 by the United States Green Building Council to evaluate the environmental performance of a building and encourage market transformation toward sustainable design.

Since 2010, IU has followed that system, called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, to guide the design, construction, operations and maintenance of environmentally sound buildings.

IU's campuses lead all other Big 10 universities in the number of LEED-certified buildings, with 19.

There are four certification levels under LEED: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Three of IUPUI's LEED buildings, including University Hall, are certified at the Gold level.

"LEED standards have provided a framework for the development of a shared understanding of the importance of constructing for energy efficiency," said Emily Wren, associate vice chancellor for facilities. "Though building for energy efficiency sometimes adds to the initial cost of the project, annual utility savings more than offset any initial cost."

To achieve its Gold-level certification, University Hall was judged on several factors, including water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation.

Among the project's LEED highlights:

  • Bike lanes and bus routes are conveniently located close to the building.
  • Preferred parking is held for carpools and high-efficiency vehicles.
  • A stormwater-detention system was designed to reduce stormwater runoff from the site by 92 percent.
  • University Hall uses 32 percent less water than a similar building that is not certified green due to its pressure and gravity assistance; aerators; and efficient sinks, urinals, toilets and showers.
  • Of the 1,115,988 kWh of electricity that University Hall is estimated to consume per year, 781,200 kWh is sourced from IPL's Green Power Option.
  • The curtain wall on the south side of the building maximizes daylighting potential.
  • An L-shaped floor plan creates more perimeter for daylighting to access the interior of the building.
  • Horizontal and vertical sunshades on the curtain wall reduce heat gain and glare.
  • University Hall is made of 43 percent recycled materials and 60 percent materials that were sourced within 500 miles of Indianapolis.

The other IUPUI LEED buildings are the Science and Engineering Laboratory Building, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Eye Institute, the Neuroscience Building, and the Rotary Building.

North Hall, the first traditional residence hall constructed at IUPUI since the campus was founded in 1969, is expected to become the sixth LEED building at IUPUI when an assessment of the building's performance is completed.

LEED buildings at other IU campuses include the Education and Arts Building and University Center, both at IU South Bend; Tulip Tree Apartments, the Cyberinfrastructure Building, Third and Union Apartments, Spruce Hall, the Global and International Studies Building, the Research and Teaching Preserve, the Multidisciplinary Science Building II, and the Jacobs School of Music Faculty Studio Building, all at IU Bloomington; and the IU Innovation Center adjacent to the IUB campus.

These buildings have common features, from exteriors that feature lots of windows to take advantage of natural light to interiors that are equipped with low-flow faucets and toilets, LED lighting on sensors, insulation that is environmentally friendly, and tanks to store water that otherwise would have flowed into downspouts and into a sewer.

By being a leader in the construction of LEED buildings, IU is helping to change the building market, said Jessica Davis, director of the IUPUI Office of Sustainability.

"When organizations construct LEED buildings, they demand more sustainable products," she said. "As the supply of sustainable products increases, the price drops, making them more financially accessible for buildings that are not designed to LEED standards. LEED buildings are a positive driving force in the sustainable-construction market."

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