FROM THE ARCHITECTS:
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED Platinum® certification to the University of North Dakota Gorecki Alumni Center. Designed by JLG Architects, it is the first Platinum building in North Dakota and the first Platinum alumni center in the United States.
“We have a responsibility to the long-term health of our state, our citizens and our wallets to design buildings that require the lowest possible maintenance costs with the healthiest indoor environment,” said Tim O’Keefe, Executive Vice President and CEO of the UND Alumni Association & Foundation. “The UND Gorecki Alumni Center is the first of a new paradigm in construction in North Dakota, where buildings work for their owners and occupants.”
Intended to lower energy use by 32% compared to other similar buildings, the Gorecki Alumni Center has exceeded benchmarks in its first year of operation, reducing energy use by 40% and saving $38,075. On the roof, 207 solar panels have surpassed their original design model and have gained 8% more energy than projected. Over 60% of the Gorecki Alumni Center features high performance glass with adjustable shades, which brings natural daylight to 97% of the spaces and greatly reduces the need for artificial light. In addition, an innovative, highly efficient HVAC system, designed by mechanical engineer Obermiller Nelson Engineering, works in tandem with an underground geothermal system to regular temperatures and reduce heating and cooling costs.
The Gorecki Alumni Center also uses 38% less water than a traditional building of its size. Inside, aerators and sensors on faucets and low-flow urinals and toilets reduce water use. Outside, an extensive stormwater management system created by civil engineer AE2S retains runoff and keeps the Center from drawing on city water systems, saving 288,296 gallons of water a year.
In a region where the average person spends 90% of their time indoors, the Gorecki Alumni Center was designed for optimal air quality to reduce health risks and raise alertness and productivity. The Center brings in 25% more outside air than other comparable buildings while using 60% less energy to heat the air, and the mechanical filters are 100% more efficient than those in a standard building. Air quality is automatically monitored and adjusted when Co2 levels rise.
During construction, construction manager Community Contractors reduced waste by 98.12%, deferring nearly 73 tons from North Dakota landfills. By recycling rather than disposing, construction waste costs were reduced by 51%.
“Our employees are breathing clean air, enjoying a connection to the outdoors and have truly embraced the ‘green’ lifestyle by recycling, reusing and reducing,” said Kris Compton, chair of the UND Alumni Association Board of Directors. “The benefits of LEED Platinum can be seen not only in our bottom line, but in the health, productivity and emotional well-being of our staff.”
The UND Alumni Center’s energy, water and resource use is monitored in real time at http://buildingdashboard.com/clients/und/gorecki