Buildings fundamentally impact the health of the planet. In the US, buildings use one-third of our total energy, two-thirds of our electricity, one-eighth of our water, and transform land that provides valuable ecological resources. At UCCS, buildings produce over half of our greenhouse gas emissions.
Our objective is a sustainable infrastructure with buildings that exemplify best practices with regard to sustainable development: materials, energy and water conservation, and occupant health, safety, and well-being. As well, our objective is to provide a sustainability living laboratory -- a learning experience above and beyond the classroom.
Consistent with Colorado Senate Bill 07-51, UCCS will institute a policy of constructing and operating to the highest LEED certification possible (within 5 % of the budget) for buildings that receive a minimum of 25% funding from the state. For other non state-funded buildings, UCCS will institute a system to internally audit buildings to achieve a LEED Silver or equivalent certification.
The LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System™ is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:
• Sustainable Sites
• Water Efficiency
• Energy and Atmosphere
• Materials and Resources
• Indoor Environmental Quality
A sixth category, Innovation and Design Process, awards points for exceptional performance above the requirements set by LEED and/or innovative performance in green building categories not specifically address by the LEED Green Building Rating System. Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum levels of LEED green building certification are awarded based on the total number of points earned within each LEED category.
LEED benefits include:
• Lower operating and life cycle costs,
• Lower water and energy resource use and reduced greenhouse gas emissions,
• Serve as a living laboratory and foundation for future sustainability efforts,
• Demonstrate the university's commitment to sustainability and the health and wellness of building users.
The Campus Recreation Center is the first public building in southern Colorado to earn LEED Gold certification and the first certified building on the UCCS campus. The $12M, 54,000 square foot center was designed to meet the needs of a growing residential student body. Forty (40) LEED points were achieved -- see the detail here.
Environmental highlights of the Recreation Center:
• Solar thermal system to provide 2/3 of heat needed for swimming pool,
• Insulated Concrete Form walls provide a high insulation value of R39,
• 89% of the construction waste was recycled,
• The building is designed to be 38% more water efficient than a comparable conventionally built building,
• Views to the outside are available for 90% of spaces,
• The building is designed to be 32% more energy efficient than a conventional building.
UCCS received a $20,000 grant from the Governor's Energy Office (GEO) to fund planning efforts in sustainable design. The GEO provided an additional $25,000 to help fund the solar thermal system.
The new $56M Osborne Center for Science and Engineering was opened in May 2009 and accommodated full classes in fall 2009. The 156,000 square feet building with over 50 laboratories provides infrastructure for interdisciplinary teaching and research and fosters collaboration and innovation in engineering, science, biotechnology, national security and K-12 education .
UCCS earned 40 points for the building, which achieved a LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. View the LEED checklist here. Environmental and energy efficiency features of the building include:
• Funded by student fees, a 13.6 kW thin-film laminate solar photovoltaic system on the roof that provides electricity for the building,
• Ice storage system to shift electricity loads to off-peak hours, reducing costs and demand for electricity at the local coal-fired power plant,
• Heat recovery system to capture energy from the building exhaust air and reuse it to precondition the make-up air supply,
• Designed energy savings of 31% more than a baseline building,
• Designed water savings of 42% more than baseline buildings,
• A construction waste recycling rate of 94%.
The $9M Conference and Events Center, which opened in January 2010, is an addition to the existing University Center of approximately 27,000 gross square feet located adjacent to the existing Berger Ballroom. The main interior space is a single-level multi-use space accommodating a gymnasium with collapsible bleachers to seat 1,400 spectators.
UCCS achieved LEED Gold certification for the building. As part of the process to earn this certification, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) were purchased in 2010 to cover 70% of two years of expected electricity use, or 265,878 kWh per year.
The former Science Building received a $17M environmentally-friendly renovation within the exterior walls, including lab, classroom, auditorium and office space. In February of 2012, LEED for Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) was accomplished with a Gold level certification. Centennial Hall opened for classes in August 2010.
A 25 kW solar photovoltaic panel system on the roof was completed in December 2010 and now produces about 3% of the building's electricity needs; the system is expected to save UCCS approximately $2,900 annually in utility costs. The solar project was funded by student fees from the Spring 2008 Solar Referendum. Additionally, Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) were purchased in 2010 to cover 100% of two years of expected energy use or 833,680 kWh per year.
The Heller Center for Arts & Humanities opened in fall 2010. At the bequest of Mrs. Dorothy Heller, who donated the property to UCCS, it as a sustainable interdisciplinary center combining educational, research, and creative activities in the fields of arts and humanities. The center includes spaces for art, quiet reflection. The Heller Center is also home to the student-run campus organic vegetable garden.