Follow-up response to 10/26 campus center article

Campus center architects and Lynn Hagee, ’58, Lawrence’s Director of Conferences and Summer Programs and the campus center project coordinator, addressed questions about the eco-friendliness of the new campus center as well as other buildings on campus.
1. Why is Lawrence’s goal a Silver LEED certification rather than a Gold or Platinum certification?
Nat Stein, AIA, LEED AP of Uihlein-Wilson Architects: Gold was not initially targeted for several reasons, some driven by natural site constraints, some by budget constraints, some by campus preference, and some by the nature of this building type.

There are several Sustainable Sites credits that do not apply to the campus center, such as redevelopment of dense urban fabric, brownfield redevelopment, campus hybrid vehicle quantities, and parking capacity. There are several credit points related to building re-use which did not apply to our project, as the Hulbert House had little to offer us (in terms of material quantities to be reused in the new building).

We have attained almost all of the Water Efficiency credits, but campus was not interested in going after compost-toilets (waterless toilets) for several reasons, which may have earned us another point.

There are a lot of “green” materials in the project and we have qualified for many of the credits in the LEED division for Materials and Resources, but some cannot be achieved here. We have made efforts to qualify for the credits that involve obtaining materials within our 500-mile radius, as well as those credits associated with low VOC content and recycled content.

There are also credits related to controllability of building systems and natural ventilation in the LEED divisions Energy and Atmosphere and Indoor Environmental Quality, but given our climate and site location, and the intended 24-hour usage of the building, we elected not to design a large amount of operable windows.

The HVAC system of the building is highly complex and too much uncontrolled outside air from open windows would cause temperature and condensation swings inside, not to mention wasted heat.

There are available points related to “green power” which the campus has not committed to purchasing; for example, additional points related to “additional commissioning.” Again, that comes at a price not included in our target construction budget per campus direction.

We attempted to achieve credits related to daylight exposure, but found that even though we have such large windows on the west and south elevations, too much of the building is buried in the slope to meet the minimum LEED calcs [sic] to qualify for the credit, thus eliminating two potential credits.

The mission for Silver came from the Lawrence Trustees at the onset of design, and we have stayed on course to achieve this rating. Silver is something of which to be very proud.

2. What proceedings, if any, did Lawrence take to follow LEED guidelines when cutting down trees and plowing grounds to prepare for the campus center’s foundations?

Lynn Hagee: Our Landscape Architect identified trees of “invasive” species and dying trees and selected them for removal by the construction team as well as marking those which were still in good health and were likely to survive the construction process. As I understand it, a good deal of the bluff was buckthorn and was not necessarily contributing to the health and beauty of the bluff vegetation. Our Civil Engineer identified the minimum disturbance boundary on the site that our construction team was allowed to modify, while still maintaining our LEED credit for Reduced Site Disturbance. It looks like a lot of the site has been greatly altered, but we are working within our designated limitations. We have saved the topsoil from the site to reuse for landscaping. The concrete piers from the old footbridge have been crushed and are being used to lay under pavement and pathways. The tower crane had to be located on a large concrete pad, and the concrete pad was placed exactly where the foundation of the west elevator was to be installed, saving further excavation and concrete pouring.

3. Since Lawrence is becoming more environmentally friendly with the campus center, will there be more of an effort to make other buildings on campus “green”?

Lawrence University Physical Plant: Here’s a list of what we’ve done and/or plan to do:
– Installed new high efficiency hot water boilers in the quad, Sage, Trever, International House, Sabin House, and Raymond House, with Kohler to be done within the next month.

– Installed a high efficiency hot water boiler in Colman for summer domestic hot water and dishwashing, which allows us to turn the steam off to Brokaw and Colman in the summer.

– Installed a new furnace at 221 N. Union, high efficiency boiler at Whiting Court Apartments.

– Replaced metal halide and low-pressure sodium lighting with fluorescent lighting at Alex Gym and various rooms and areas at Buchanan-Kiewit Rec Center.

– Upgraded the controls in several areas of campus to turn outside lighting on and off with an automated system that allows for sunrise and sunset variations.

– Encouraged students to use compact fluorescent bulbs by making them available free of charge to Greenfire and to new students at the Welcome Week fair.

– Upgraded heating controls in Colman and Ormsby to improve efficiency. Kohler will follow in the next month and Sage and Plantz within the next year as most of the parts are already purchased and some are installed.

– Authorized an energy and infrastructure report to analyze the campus needs.

– Currently adding variable frequency drives to the heating and cooling system in Main Hall for more efficient operation.

– We added a smaller boiler to the main boiler house this past summer for more efficient operation.

– We added upgraded controls and programming in the boiler room to monitor and track efficiency of the boilers.

– We are adding a gas dryer to Alex Gym next week that will improve efficiency.
– We are replacing some backstage lighting in the music-drama building to improve efficiency.

– We are constantly looking at our water gas and electric consumption to uncover problems and look for the areas that would save the most energy for the least cost.