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With its emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency through numerous design, construction and operational initiatives, Smith’s new building for engineering and molecular sciences will be at the forefront of energy-efficient architecture.

The 140,000-square-foot building incorporates numerous initiatives in its design and use in order to reduce the consumption of energy resources and the costs of operation and to serve as a teaching tool for sustainable design.

The building’s designers, from the architectural firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, worked in conjunction with various construction and campus representatives to build a state-of the-art structure that will aim to substantially reduce its use of resources.

Recent studies have shown that the operation of large buildings accounts for the majority of electricity consumption in the United States, contributing 30 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions and consuming 36 percent of total energy. Globally, “green architecture” -- as the movement is called to reduce energy consumption in buildings -- is having a significant impact on the way new buildings are being designed and constructed.

Specific objectives for Smith’s building for engineering and molecular sciences include:

Installing high-efficiency electrical equipment such as LED lighting fixtures and computer-monitored sensors for light, air and moisture control

Using passive energy options such as maximum daylight exposure through optimum window and glass placement, heat recovery, and innovative insulation and construction materials

Using recycled and recyclable materials whenever possible for laboratory instruction and interior enhancement in the building

Managing water consumption through low-flow fixtures, high-tech monitoring and ecohydrology

Experimenting with organic gardening and green roofs

Regarding the building as a learning lab, providing for extensive monitoring of energy consumption, comparisons and goals, and for prominent visibility to promote ongoing community knowledge

“The building itself will function as a teaching tool, giving students and faculty access to many of its sophisticated mechanical systems and monitors,” says Thomas Litwin, director of the Clark Science Center and a member of the building’s sustainability subcommittee. Vivian Loftness, a professor of architecture at Carnegie Mellon University and a design consultant for the Smith building, describes the facility as “a unique, demonstration-quality building in which a new kind of education takes place. The building won’t simply house research but will, itself, become part of the instruments.”

Read a report on the recycling of the waste generated by the Ford Hall project (PDF)

The emphasis on sustainability in the new building for engineering and molecular sciences is the largest undertaking in a campuswide effort to promote and implement energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. The college’s Sustainability Committee is pursuing projects on campus to promote renewable energy, better recycling, lawn preservation and minimizing waste of food and materials.



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