LEED BD+C: New Construction v3 - LEED 2009
UALR Student Services Center
LEED Gold 2013
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
SSc2, SSc5.2, EAc1
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
From the outset of the project, the top sustainability goals for the project were making the
- building energy efficient
- connecting the building to the community and campus
- protecting the site's resources
As the project was built for a university client, the design team planned facility for a long service life. The team took hold of the fact that most of the cost of owning a building is the operating cost. Therefore, the team took extra care to make the building as energy efficient as possible while staying within the budget.
The building serves as a figurative "front door" to the campus, and therefore, the team sought to create a project that was open and inviting for students, parents, and visitors. The site choice for the project placed the building in a convenient location for students and took advantage of nearby services and amenities available to building occupants.
The project owners expressed the importance of respecting the limited area and property for the ever growing and expanding campus. The design team was able to work with the owner to redevelop an existing parking lot at the heart of campus. This approach increased the density of the heart of the campus and decreased the amount of vehicular traffic, which promoted a more pedestrian and student-friendly atmosphere on campus.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
One of the most notable strategies utilized was upgrading the local physical plant to increase energy efficiency. Because one of the main goals of the project was to maximize energy savings, the design team worked closely with campus facilities to budget for upgrades and extensions to a local physical plant. The upgrades provided additional backup capacity for the adjacent Donaghey Student Center (DSC) and improved the efficiency of the Student Services' HVAC system. Extensive use of exterior glazing coupled with daylight sensors also contributed to the project's energy savings. Light colored single ply roofing materials were incorporated to mitigate solar heat gain through the roof, which added to energy savings. Through these measures, the project achieved energy cost savings of 30% when compared to the baseline set by ASHRAE 90.1-2007.
Photo by Tim Hursley
A pedestrian bridge connects the Student Services Center with the Donaghey Student Center, which makes the two facilities more convenient. The Student Services Center is also closely linked to nearby academic and residential buildings.
Another important strategy used to earn LEED credits was choosing an excellent project location and enhancing it by maximizing the open space on site. Earning 20 LEED points for Sustainable Sites, the project takes full advantage of nearby services and adds density to the campus fabric. At the Student Services Center, building occupants enjoy close proximity to community services and resources, such as campus housing, academic buildings, dining areas, and the library. A bridge connects the Student Services Center to the adjacent Donaghey Student Center, which makes the campus even more convenient for students and visitors.
Since the campus is landlocked, the team wanted to respect the limited area for buildings on campus while also conserving vegetated open space. The team added density to the center of campus by replacing existing parking with the Student Services building and new landscaping. The project team introduced new green space on site in order to make the building more inviting and reduce the amount of storm water runoff.
Altogether, the project includes 78,021 square feet of open space, which is more than twice the building footprint of 12,692 square feet. In addition, 100% of the dedicated open space is vegetated. Reducing pollution and protecting natural amenities were additional strategies utilized in the project. Because the project site is near Coleman Creek, a local waterway that runs through the center of campus, extra care was taken during construction to minimize pollution and protect the site. The existing parking lot was left in place during most of the construction period, so that soil runoff and tracking by construction vehicles would be minimized.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
One of the key successes on this project was being able to improve the reliability and energy efficiency of the Student Services Center and the existing Donaghey Student Center. The realization of 30% energy savings helped raise the bar for buildings on the UALR campus.The building was also successful in bringing together multiple student services, which will greatly increase the frequency and quality of student-staff interaction. The project is a prominent structure on campus, and the majority of UALR students will visit it on a regular basis.
Photo by Tim Hursley
Surrounded by large sidewalks, the Student Services Center contributed to the pedestrian-friendly vibe on campus. The project added density to campus by replacing a parking lot with a LEED building.
Thus, the eye-catching Gold-certified building will increase student and public exposure to sustainable building practices.
Initially, UALR had targeted a Silver certification level for the project, but as the process continued, the University pressed the team to explore other options and attempt additional LEED credits in order to obtain a Gold level of certification. Although some credits that were targeted in the beginning of the process could not be achieved, the team recommitted themselves to finding alternate strategies. The team had initially targeted but was not able to achieve Stormwater Design- Quantity Control, Stormwater Design- Quality Control, and Heat Island Effect- Nonroof. In order to achieve Gold certification, the team targeted additional LEED credits, such Construction Waste Management and Recycled Content. Additional energy savings were realized through some tweaks in the systems and documentation. The extra energy savings equated to 30% cost savings over the base line models, which earned extra LEED points for Optimizing Energy Performance and was a huge help in achieving Gold certification.
Photo by Photo by Tim Hursley
The Student Services Center is a one-stop site for student services, such as financial aid, registration, and admissions. Surrounded by green open space, the facility has a welcoming environment for prospective and current students at UALR.
Because the project delivery method was a traditional design, bid, build, the design team did receive input from a general contractor's perspective. Fortunately, the winning contractor had plenty of experience in implementing and documenting the LEED process. Because the full team was not set until the construction phase, it was difficult to incorporate all aspects of the LEED process. However, through careful coordinating and collaboration, the project was completed smoothly. Because of the pace of the project, the team did not submit the documentation for review until later in the process. This forced the team to submit the project in a combined submittal. Although it ultimately worked out, the team would have benefited from a split, design and construction review.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
Photo by Photo by Tim Hursley
Daylight illuminates a stairwell in the facility. Extensive glazing reduces energy usage in the facility and provides a connection with the outside world.
Since the Student Services Center is such a public building for UALR, the project's LEED Gold Certification shows the university's commitment to sustainable practices and to the local community. The LEED process added measurable and quantifiable guidelines that help protect resources, improve the work environment for employees, and enhance the experience for students and visitors.
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