Sustainable Features in the Student Union

Achieving a LEED Gold Certificate

The UIS Student Union has been designed and constructed to obtain a LEED Gold certification.  The LEED rating and certification system is the industry’s gold-standard for the design and construction of environmentally sustainable buildings.  The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is the third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at reducing energy and water usage, promoting better indoor air quality, and improving the quality of life of the building’s occupants.  A LEED certification is a highly sought-after achievement for newly constructed buildings on the UIS campus.

There are several green/sustainable features of the building:

  • Energy Performance – The building’s electrical, heating, ventilating, and air conditioning systems designed to use less energy (greater than 30% more efficient) than a new building that was built in 2007 (10 years ago).
  • Recycled Content – Over 20% of the building is constructed with recycled materials.
  • Regional Materials – Over 20% of the building materials were extracted, harvested, recovered, as well as manufactured within 500 miles.
  • Rapidly Renewable Materials – To reduce the use and depletion of finite raw materials and long-cycle renewable materials, several of the building materials and products have been made from plants that are typically harvested within a 10-year or shorter cycle.
  • Alternative Transportation – Public Transportation Access, Low-Emitting and Fuel-Efficient vehicle parking
  • Efficient storm water system design and water retaining landscaping to hold the water on site for native plant species has been integrated into the landscape design.
  • Reduction in Heat Island Effect – Vegetated Roof is being installed.
  • Water Use Reduction – Water-efficient fixtures and equipment have been installed throughout the building.
  • Certified Wood – Wood-based materials and products used in construction were certified in accordance with the Forest Stewardship Council’s principles and criteria for wood building components.
  • Low-Emitting Materials – Adhesives and Sealants, Paints and Coatings, Flooring Systems, Composite Wood and Agrifiber Products were used to minimize the use of volatile organic compounds.
  • Thermal Comfort – A high level of thermal comfort control system was installed in the individual occupants and group/multi-occupant spaces (e.g., lounges or conference areas) to promote their productivity, comfort and well-being.
  • Daylight and Views – To provide building occupants with a connection between indoor spaces and the outdoors, daylight has been introduced into the regularly occupied areas of the building.
  • Controllable Systems – The lighting system is controllable for all shared multi-occupant spaces to enable adjustments.  A Daylight harvesting system was also integrated into the building to adjust overhead lighting versus the ambient (natural & artificial) light present in a space.  Dimming or switching off lighting will occur when sufficient ambient light is present or when the space is unoccupied.
  • Indoor air quality assessment – To establish better quality indoor air after construction and to promote the comfort and well-being of the building occupants a building flush-out will be done. This will supply a total air volume of 14,000 cubic feet of outdoor air per square foot of floor area while maintaining an internal temperature of at least 60° F and relative humidity no higher than 60%.  Given the size of the building, the types of HVAC equipment and the typical weather this time of year, it is expected that the flush out will take approximately 3 weeks.