Apr 212010
Authors: Kate Frasure

In the most earth-friendly week of the year, as CSU finds new ways to establish itself as the “Green University,” using environmental building practices, it is looking to federal green standards to propagate that image.

But, with the legitimacy of several new projects still pending, officials remain unclear on how they will fair when the federal government audit reports come back this semester.
Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design, or LEED, standards will determine the ratings –– as well as drive CSU’s image as one of the nation’s green educational powerhouses –– of nine new buildings on campus, including the highly publicized Indoor Practice Facility for the Athletics Department.

Aspen Hall and the Lory Student Center bus station both have the organization’s secondhighest rating of “gold.”

Facilities Management officials remain confident in the score the buildings will get on the new projects.

The new Computer Science Building, located in the LSC Plaza, is one of the new buildings designed with various green features. One of the most noticeable is the significant number of picture windows.

“They are placed to optimize day lighting opportunities with sunshades and high performance glass,” energy engineer Carol Dollard said.

Dollard and Head of Design and Construction Mike Rush said the windows help keep heat in during the winter and cool the building during the summer.

The building also features a creative air conditioning system that helps to get the heat that collects from the computers out of the building.

“Computers give off a lot of heat, which is what causes a lot more energy to be used,” Dollard said. “We try to not effect programs on the computers but use other methods to solve the problem.”

The expansion of the campus’s Student Recreational Center also features windows that allow for natural light into the interior space. The renovation is designed to accommodate a High Performance Building Standard and will add an additional 75,000 square feet to the existing 100,000.

“By remodeling the old part of the building, we are actually saving more energy,” Dollard said. “We are lessening the impact on the planet.”

With all the attention being placed on the new buildings, the question of what happens to the older buildings arises.

Rush said many of the buildings built early actually have a few features to help make them more efficient.

For instance, the cinderblocks with small holes in them for light that encompass the Clark Buildings are not for decoration, but act as flue tiles, which are normally found in chimneys. The tiles allow daylight in without letting more heat in.

Dollard added that the lights in Clark and other older buildings have been replaced with florescent, energy saving bulbs.

“By using these bulbs, you gain 20 to 30 percent better quality,” Dollard said.

She said buildings use approximately 50 percent of the electricity and 25 percent of the natural gas produced in the United States annually. This puts a greater pressure on using more energy saving techniques.

Other green methods

In the Academic Village, another new feature has been added to conserve water usage. A pulper in the Dining Commons takes food waste and, using water, compacts the waste and then re-circulates the water for conservation.

“It is kind of like a garbage disposal on steroids,” Dollard said. “The best part is it is able to keep using the same water over and over again.”

“CSU is just keeping up with the forefront of sustainable construction,” said Maddie Yovanoff, a building design assistant with Facilities Management. “I think everybody is very happy to just be greener.”

Staff writer Kate Frasure can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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