The building will be designed and constructed in accordance with LEED Gold certification requirements as set forth by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
The Academic Commons is being constructed in a pre-developed area, limiting sprawl. It replaces what was once the site of Caruther’s Hall and a portion of an existing parking lot. The location of this project lends itself to have access to many local amenities such as the campus dining hall, social and recreational areas, shopping, fitness centers, salons, and 2 bus routes.
The site design is complete with varied textures of natural paving and plantings which promote accessibility by foot and bike, as parking is limited.
The site will be enhanced with bio-retention areas planted with native plants to hold and qualitatively treat storm water (rain), thus preventing run-off to local streams and ponds.
The roof is composed of both a light-colored reflective membrane as well as areas of vegetation. The vegetated roof contains over six species of native sedum, increasing storm water management as well as a providing a habitat for the local wildlife. The overall “heat island” effect is decreased because less heat is absorbed on site due to the combination of the vegetated roof, reflective roofing materials, and the reduced area of site hardscape.
The building will include bicycle rack space for at least 60 bicycles, encouraging students, faculty and staff to cycle instead of driving.
At least 20% of all materials used to construct the building will be purchased locally, requiring less fuel and reducing emissions created in shipping.
Water savings are being achieved by selecting water saving fixtures such as low-flow toilets, urinals, and time-metered faucets. The savings is over 35% above baseline water usage rates.
Energy & Atmosphere
A large focus for Salisbury University is to increase energy efficiency. The following strategies were implemented throughout the facility:
The greatest energy savings is being achieved through the design of a high efficiency building envelope to reduce the heat gain/loss during the peak months of HVAC use. Energy efficient glass and glazing will be used throughout the building’s exterior envelope.
Lighting controls such as occupancy sensors will prevent fixtures from being left on unnecessarily; daylight sensors will auto-dim a fixture should enough natural light permeate the space to reach the desired threshold.
The building will be fully commissioned to ensure that all mechanical systems will operate at their designed efficiencies. Ongoing monitoring through a building automation system and continuing commissioning will ensure that the systems will perform as designed through their lifespan.
Through the use of carbon dioxide sensors located throughout the building, the volume of outside air introduced into the facility will be safely minimized at times of low usage and pre-mixed with pre-heated and pre-cooled air from inside the building. This will insure that the Academic Commons uses 25% to 30% less energy for heating and cooling than a comparable classroom building constructed using Best Practices.
Variable speed fans will operate at a lower rate during reduced cooling and heating loads.
Variable speed pumps will operate at a lower flow rate during periods of reduced cooling and heating loads.
Materials & Resources
Over 75% of the construction waste (by weight) will be diverted from landfill; inclusive of materials such as metal, wood, concrete, and sheet rock.
Over 20% recycled and regional products will be utilized in various building materials.
On-campus recycling has improved to a rate of over 45% (as per a recent 2013 survey), recycling items such as food waste, electronic equipment, printer toner, fluorescent tubes, glass, and aluminum. These practices will continue at the Academic Commons.
Indoor Environmental Quality
It is a known fact that people perform better when daylight and views are present. Therefore, both elements were maximized to an optimal level of user comfort.
A daylight harvesting control system will shut off lights in areas of the building when a sensor detects enough natural sunlight to adequately illuminate the interior. In addition, motion sensors to control lighting will be used in a significant portion of the building, thus reducing energy.
Green Cleaning and Integrated Pest Management Plans were updated to the latest version of Green Housekeeping Standards and are being implemented to ensure that the use of toxic chemicals is minimized.
To minimize VOC (volatile organic compound) levels, low-VOC paints and coatings will be installed.
Flooring and furniture throughout the building space will be low VOC.
Carbon dioxide sensors and humidity controls will be incorporated in the ventilation system to improve air quality.
Plastic laminate adhesives and substrates have no added urea-formaldehyde, which is a skin and respiratory irritant as well as a suspected carcinogen.