University of Colorado at Colorado
Science and Engineering
Participants:Linda Kogan – Director of
Office of Sustainability
Gary Reynolds – UCCS Executive Director Facilities Services
Chris Gebhart - AR7 architects
Darrell Lackey -ME Engineers
David Metcalf – Jacobs
Kate Bechtholdt – Douglass Colony Group
Alicia Seivers - Architectural Energy Corporation
The Science & Engineering building is the second LEED building
on campus and is expected to be awarded LEED Gold
certification in August 2009. The building provides much
needed classrooms, faculty offices, and teaching/research
laboratories while bringing together the departments of
biology, physics, mechanical and aerospace engineering, the
Institute for Science and Space Studies, and the CU
Institute for Bioenergetics into a single facility. Joint
research of these various groups will be supported by
flexible research space that supports additional
Equally important, the building
functions as a destination for K-12 field trips to
inspire young visitors about math, science, engineering,
and computing disciplines. A dedicated K-12 welcome and
orientation space provides school kids the opportunities
to play with engineering and science experiments
developed by UCCS students and faculty. “Imagination
stations” are distributed throughout the building.
Combined with view windows into various labs, an
itinerary is created that highlights specific topics,
ongoing research, and building systems performance. A
Foucault pendulum will be installed in the three-story
main atrium space as part of a public art installation
by Living Lenses, a collaboration by Po Shu Wang and
The building, now complete, will
celebrate an official opening and LEED celebration
August 6, 2009.
Construction Cost per Square Foot:
Non Renewable heating source: natural gas
purchased from Colorado Springs Utilities
Introduction to UCCS and Sustainability Background
UCCS is strongly committed to increasing the
sustainability of its built environment and to serve as
a living learning laboratory. We want to be a
demonstration campus where students and members of the
community can learn and measure the performance of a
variety of different renewable energy installations
including solar thermal, thin film laminate,
photovoltaics, as well as energy conservation and demand
side management projects such as heat recovery, ice
storage, and evaporative pre-cooling. There are 4
building projects on campus that will be LEED Silver or
better. In 2008, students concerned with climate change
and recognizing our southern exposure, passed a $5 fee
per semester to install solar projects on the campus.
In 2007, more than 40 faculty, students, and staff
collaborated on a comprehensive Sustainability Strategic
Plan indicating specific 5-year goals and action plans.
Subsequently, sustainability was included as one of 15
goals in the overall UCCS Strategic Plan. In 2006, a
Minor in Sustainable Development was added and continues
to draw an increasing number of students. UCCS, along
with over 600 other schools, is a signatory to the
American College and University Presidents Climate
Commitment, which directs schools to pursue short term
carbon reduction strategies as well as develop a long
term plan for carbon neutrality.
1. Use of
A 13.6 kW solar thin film
laminate system was installed on the building roof and
as of May 22 is fully operational. The system consists
of 96 UniSolar, FlexLight Photovoltaic Laminate 136 Watt
panels. There are three PV Powered 4,600 kW inverters. A
monitoring package was included to display real time
data on the performance of the system on a kiosk in the
lobby of the building as well as on line. This thin film
was selected for its light weight and to highlight a
different form of solar technology. This is the first
project that is being funded by the student fee passed
for solar projects on campus. Our size was limited by
the reflective roof credit for LEED and by funds
available for the project. Power purchase agreements are
not yet available to the Colorado Springs region, so
state entities must rely solely on Governor’s Energy
Office grants and utility rebates to help fund projects.
Cooling is accomplished by
a number of sustainable and traditional methods.
Exterior spaces have operable windows for natural
ventilation and cooling. Primary cooling is delivered by
air handling units that have variable speed drives and
premium efficiency motors to reduce power consumption.
Air is filtered with high performance filters to enhance
indoor air quality. Air handlers that serve non-lab
areas deliver cooling by using outside air when it is
cool enough, or when it isn't, much of the air is
re-circulated and cooled by coils fed from the
mechanical cooling plant. CO2 sensors increase or
decrease the quantity of outside air to improve indoor
air quality and save energy. Air handlers that serve
labs are 100 percent outside air so they, too, cool
using outside air when conditions permit. Lab air
handlers also cool by evaporating water into the
air-stream when air is dry enough. When evaporative
cooling and outdoor air are insufficient, cooling is
provided by the mechanical cooling plant.
mechanical cooling plant consists of variable speed
chillers with environmentally friendly refrigerant,
premium efficiency variable speed pumps, and ice storage
tanks. At night when the air is cool and electric
utility rates are low, the chillers build ice in the
tanks. During morning and evening hours when electric
rates are still low, chillers handle building cooling
with standard temperature chilled water. When peak
electric rates apply, the building is cooled by
circulating water through the ice tanks supplemented by
the chillers. Electric power use is reduced because the
chillers are smaller than if ice were not available.
During mild periods the building can be cooled
completely by ice.
Laboratories are 100 percent
exhaust and makeup air for health and safety. Heating
and cooling are recovered from building exhaust air and
transferred to the incoming outside air by a runaround
heat recovery system to pre-cool and pre-heat air when
summer and winter outdoor temperatures require
conditioning. Laboratory hoods and occupied spaces are
variable air volume to save power, heating, and cooling
energy so only the amount of air required for occupant
comfort and safety is used. At night, temperatures in
the spaces and air exhausted through hoods are reduced,
and during the day hood exhaust is reduced when sensors
detect there are no people near the hoods. Similarly,
non-lab area variable air volume boxes deliver reduced
airflow to reduce energy consumption when motion sensors
detect no occupants.
Heating is delivered by the
boiler plant when heat recovery is insufficient. The
three lead boilers are high efficiency condensing units
to reduce natural gas consumption. They are supported by
two efficient non-condensing boilers when more extreme
winter conditions exist. Heating water pumps are premium
efficiency variable primary flow.
controls are digital to optimize systems operation.
Controls permit occupants to explore facets of the
systems through an interactive interface. Major
mechanical systems were commissioned by an independent
consultant to verify they operate to their potential.
Lighting throughout the building
utilizes demand control and variable lighting levels to
minimize the amount of wasted energy. Energy efficient
electronic ballasts and light fixtures were selected.
Light pollution to the outdoors is limited.
Environmental impact highlights:
Building was designed to be 31% more
energy efficient than Ashrae 90.1 minimally compliant
Occupancy sensors were installed in
offices to control lighting.
Occupancy sensors were
installed in rooms to control HVAC.
low E glass, solar shades (vertical and horizontal), and
Non-renewable energy displaced –
approximately 1 percent from the thin film system. The
system can be augmented as funds become available.
CO2 displaced from solar laminate system: 35,439 lbs per
Project used low VOC
paints, carpets, sealants, wood and agrifiber, etc.
Water use reduction
Plumbing fixtures are water
conserving to reduce water use. They include 1 pint
flush sensor operated urinals, dual flush low-flow water
closets, sensor activated lavatory faucets for improved
hygiene and lower water use, and low-flow shower heads.
Building was designed to be 42% more water efficient
than baseline building.
was built on an existing parking lot with no new parking
Bike racks, showers and changing rooms, and
access to public transportation were provided.
Innovation credit – an area of twice the building
footprint was set aside on the campus as open space, not
to be changed for the life of the building.
Materials and Resources
Over 34% of materials by
weight are from recycled content.
More than 20% of
materials were sourced locally.
Project achieved a
95% construction waste recycling rate.
Comprehensive single stream recycling infrastructure was
integrated into the building
The building is sited opposite El
Pomar Center across Library Plaza and fronts the
pedestrian spine that runs through the campus. It is
terraced into the hillside to provide on-grade access to
three levels with the fourth floor linked to the
existing Engineering Building via an enclosed elevated
bridge. A fifth story functions as a mechanical
The steel frame structure with brick
veneer, metal panel, and glazed aluminum window systems
build upon existing campus standards. The “spine and
finger” floor plate maximizes interior daylighting while
reducing massing and scale. The stepped profile of the
fingers is intended to allow sunlight to penetrate to
courtyard spaces. Each elevation was studied to address
interior function, campus context, and solar
Solar thin film laminate on roof
is not visible from below. It can be seen from the bluff
directly behind the building. This technology was
selected because the new roof was not designed to hold a
heavier photovoltaic structure, and because we wanted to
showcase a different technology for students to learn.
Outside lights designed to minimize light leaving
4. Public Awareness
Tours provided by both sustainability office and
employees at Science & Engineering
Tours thus far
have included USGBC Southern Colorado Chapter, alumni
groups, contributors, facilities directors in the CU
UCCS has been selected to host the solar
homes tour in October 2009 based on our LEED buildings,
our use of renewable energy, and our focus on increasing
Signs are located throughout the
building describing green and LEED features.
are windows into several mechanical rooms with
descriptions of the systems.
A green touchscreen
display in lobby highlights green features, how the
solar laminate system works, and real time data on
electricity, natural gas, and solar. This is currently
under construction and will be viewable online outside
the university in the future.
This building demonstrates the use of heat recovery, ice
storage, and solar laminate technology as well as high
performance design and mechanical equipment. Architects
and contractors can visit to determine what strategies
to replicate. We will post utility use and real time
data from the solar laminate system so that others can
learn and replicate if desired.