Simple math might suggest that adding 80,000 square feet to a 180,000 square-foot building would increase the facility's energy consumption by somewhere around 45 percent. Thanks to some pretty fancy engineering and technology, however, that wasn't the case when Eastern Michigan University renovated and expanded its Science Complex last year.
In fact, the bigger facility is now using no more energy than it did before its expansion. In fact, in its first year of data, it appears to be using 23 percent less energy.
"The initial goal was to design and construct a building that used as little energy as possible given our cost constraints and other goals on the project," says EMU Energy and Sustainability Manager Steven Moore II. "Once the design progressed, we realized that there was the potential to keep the energy use the same, even after adding approximately 50 percent of the square footage to the building. Once that became a possibility, we really strove to make it happen."
The development was recently awarded LEED Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council and earned an honorable mention in the Construction and Design Award category from the Engineering Society of Detroit at its meeting in June. While these achievements are great in and of themselves, Moore says the real winners are the students.
"Eastern Michigan University has spent nearly $1,000,000 on utilities some years at Mark Jefferson, so every bit of energy savings equates to significant dollar savings," says Moore. "This monetary savings can then be passed on to the students through tuition restraint."
Source: Steven Moore, Eastern Michigan University
Writer: Natalie Burg