LEED BD+C: New Construction v2.2
UNF College of Education Building
Jacksonville, FL 32224-2645
LEED Gold 2010
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
EAc1, SSc6.1, WEc3.2, EQc3.1, EQc6.1, EQc8.1, EQc8.2, EAc5
* This profile has been peer-reviewed by a USGBC-selected team of technical experts.
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
The owner's goal on the project was to "get the most green we can for the budget." Some of the top priorities were to create better learning environments and increase staff productivity by increasing indoor environmental quality; to reduce environmental impacts by using regional materials and reducing the quantity of stormwater runoff; and to reduce operating costs through energy-efficient design.
What were the motivations to pursue LEED certification and how did they influence the project?
- Cost/Utility Savings
- Organizational Policy
- Organizational Priority
- Waste Reduction/Avoidance
- Corporate Responsibility
The University of North Florida (UNF) wants to be a responsible steward of the community and to reap the benefits of a LEED-certified building in operating costs. The most significant savings have been in electrical and water usage costs; the added benefits of a healthier, more productive learning environment are icing on the cake.
The integrated team worked together to make the project a success, holding regular LEED meetings to review the status of the credits being pursued. The green goals for the project were established during the initial LEED charrette and included the following:
- Achieve LEED Silver certification: The increasing pressure on state agencies in Florida to design buildings with reduced natural resource impacts and increased sustainability overall, coupled with the personal convictions of UNF leadership, made the goal of LEED certification a foregone conclusion.
- Maximize energy performance: Since UNF's electricity comes primarily from coal-burning plants and its heat from natural gas, impact on natural resources was a consideration. This drove the design to include low power density and occupancy control for lighting; demand-controlled ventilation for the highly varying occupant-loaded spaces; and energy recovery from exhaust air to ventilation air.
- Maximize water use reduction: The design included UNF campus standards of low-flow water closets and faucets, as well as waterless urinals. Low-irrigation landscape design helps to limit outdoor water use.
- High indoor environmental quality: Design and construction efforts were focused to provide high indoor air quality and low impact on natural surroundings, for example, through light pollution reduction, native landscaping, and encouragement of alternate transportation.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
The project was designed to achieve 23% reduction below ASHRAE 90.1 through energy-efficient design of HVAC and lighting systems. The lighting systems were designed with energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs and occupant-sensing controls. The HVAC systems include energy recovery units to supply fresh air to the spaces while recovering energy from exhausted air. The mechanical systems comprise air handling units that use chilled water and heating water; energy recovery units with chilled water and heating water; enthalpy wheels; and variable-volume terminal boxes serving all zones with heating water reheat. Demand control ventilation was used by designing dual-duct terminal boxes for all densely occupied spaces with pre-conditioned, outdoor air ducted to one side and conditioned, re-circulated air ducted to the other side. Heat from outdoor air is pre-conditioned and exchanged with exhaust air in the summer and vice-versa in the winter, before the exhaust air is able to leave the building, minimizing energy needed to cool or heat the air by mechanical means. The air handling units feature static pressure reset measures, reducing the energy used by the fan when critical zones are satisfied with airflow.
Because it was a project priority, a number of strategies were used to achieve high indoor environmental quality. On-site ductwork was protected and enclosed at all times, and we used MERV 8 filtration media during and prior to construction. Additionally, we covered or contained all finish materials - including carpet, ceramic tile, paints, and stains - prior to and after installation as much as possible, and located all project equipment and material staging areas away from critical air flow pathways. To maximize occupant control, 90 percent of workstations have controls and classrooms use dual-technology occupancy sensors with manual override. Lighting for corridors, hallways, and other general areas is programmed through the building's energy management system to automatically turn off after hours.
Another project priority was water use reduction. For this, we designed the building to reduce potable water use by 39% compared to baseline. We accomplished this by including the campus standards of low-flow water closets and faucets, as well as waterless urinals. Additionally, no potable water was used for irrigation and low irrigation landscape design helps to limit overall water use on the site.
This image depicts the southeast exterior of the building, which faces a pond and features water-efficient landscaping. Photo by Ryan Fryman.
Finally, prioritizing reduced stormwater runoff was achieved through a wet detention pond that serves multiple buildings. The detention pond, designed to slowly release treatment volume through a control structure, stays wet at all times. This strategy was selected over a retention system because it was more feasible given the seasonal high water table and soils types that limit percolation in this region. In contrast to detention ponds, retention ponds store treatment volume, allowing it to infiltrate into the soil and not discharging it to surface waters. The detention pond resulted in a 27.6% reduction in post-development site runoff quantity.
This on-site pond reduces post-development site runoff for this and other university buildings. Photo by Ryan Fryman.
How was the integrative process applied and what was the greatest benefit gained?
An integrated design and construction process was used for the project, beginning with the kick-off LEED charette and continuing throughout design and construction. The LEED charette was held during the schematic design phase and included the entire team: owner, architects, civil engineers, MEP engineers, and construction manager. During the LEED charette, we developed and reviewed the owner's "Green Goals" for the project, reviewed the current project design and parameters, and used the LEED Checklist to review each LEED credit and strategies, point by point. Each LEED credit was targeted as a "yes," "maybe," or "no," and assigned a "credit guardian."
After the charrette, we held regular LEED meetings throughout the design and construction phases. Regular LEED update meetings were held in conjunction with design review and coordination meetings throughout design; regular LEED update meetings were also held throughout the construction phase, in conjunction with scheduled owner-architect-contractor meetings. Regular and routine coordination and communication between all members of the project team was essential to success of the project, and ensured that the owner's green goals were met.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
The new building enables College of Education and Human Services faculty, staff, and programs to be together under one roof for the first time in years. This greatly facilitates our ability to work together collaboratively for the good of our students. The facility will allow us room to grow and expand our outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs, serving us for many years to come.
What were the most important long- and short-term value-add strategies and what returns on investment (ROI) have been experienced or anticipated?
The low-flow toilets and waterless urinals were value-added strategies for both the short- and long-term. The university is able to save money from water and sewer fees; however, because the university does not track individual building usage and several new buildings were developed at that same time, specific cost savings are unknown. There were no lower ROIs than expected because we only pursued proven strategies.
What project challenges became important lessons learned?
If we started the project over today knowing what we now know, we would have approached certain aspects differently. For instance, a missed opportunity was greater daylighting and exterior views. The design team could have worked together in the earliest project phases to incorporate more daylight and vision glazing into the building, especially in the perimeter classroom spaces.
Additionally, whether the project achieved the daylighting and views LEED credits or not, the team could have incorporated daylight harvesting strategies where there was adequate daylighting. By incorporating daylight sensors into the building's normally occupied areas where daylighting was available, and especially in public spaces with large windows or clerestories, the building's energy consumption could have been further reduced. Daylighting sensors could have controlled the lights through simple on/off switching, which would have been very cost effective. Or, daylight sensors could have been incorporated with dimming controls and dimming ballasts to provide a smoother, more gradual transition from natural to artificial lighting.
Another opportunity that was missed was related to measurement and verification (M&V). Second only to commissioning, having and implementing an ongoing M&V plan is the biggest opportunity for reducing a building's energy consumption. The building and central energy plant infrastructure already included sufficient metering and monitoring points to pinpoint how much energy the building was using and where. And the owner, as part of its normal operations, was already in the process of monitoring energy usage on a semi-regular basis. The team should have targeted M&V from the project onset, initiated more in-depth discussions with the owner's operating staff to determine what they were already planning on doing, and developed a formalized M&V plan meeting the IPVMP Option B requirements. A formalized M&V plan of this nature was developed for the next project on campus.
What was a pivotal moment that impacted the project's direction?
We provided a fire pump for this building and made provisions to use this pump to serve another 150,000-square-foot building complex on the adjacent site. This not only saved money on the other project, but also saved duplicating material resources and future maintenance costs.
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