Green Technologies Incorporated into New Science Addition on Davis Street
Written by Charlene Hankinson
A new science addition to the Davis Street Building is the first new construction incorporating extensive green technologies at The University of Findlay. Growth in enrollment in science-based degrees created an urgent need for new facilities. More than 2,000 students are enrolled in the Colleges of Sciences, Health Professions and Pharmacy.
The new addition contains 19 science laboratories, four classrooms, a 112-seat lecture hall, a computer lab, 15 faculty offices, a conference room and a student lounge. It primarily houses the biology program and related forensic science laboratories. The new construction was completed in June 2012, taking roughly a year to build.
According to Myreon Cobb, director of the physical plant, the building has a number of energy-saving features. The addition has a geothermal heating and cooling system, which required drilling 40 wells in the flood plain behind the building that drains into Howard Run creek. The system will take only 5.6 years to pay for itself in energy savings. The building is highly insulated. The masonry block outside walls were filled with sand and sprayed with foam insulation. The walls were finished with a brick veneer four feet from the bottom and then insulated metal siding was applied on the outside of the rest of the structure.
The building also uses computerized sensors to adjust the amount of light provided, and every room also has a motion sensor that turns on the lights when the room is occupied and shuts them off shortly after no motion is detected in the room. New, high efficiency electronic light bulbs are used. Although the new bulbs are more expensive than the old ones – which are being phased out by federal mandate – the University should still realize about a 20 percent cost savings, Cobb said.
The laboratories are equipped with sophisticated fume hoods that sense both human movement and the presence of chemicals, so that the hoods run when necessary, but drop to low power or shut off to save energy when not needed. The building also has an air handling system that maintains a level of 10 percent fresh air at all times.
The building also was designed regarding environmental impact. A system of piping is in place to control rainwater runoff from the building. Buried underground to the west of the addition is 300 feet of piping that is four feet in diameter, which will hold water runoff. A drainpipe six inches in diameter controls the amount and rate of water allowed to flow into Howard Run.
“It’s calculated big enough to handle a 100-year rain,” Cobb said of the system.
The $11 million building addition was designed by RCM Architects, with Charles and Associates as the general contractor. Although the University didn’t pay the estimated $35,000-40,000 in fees to obtain green certification for the building, criteria for the permit were followed in designing and constructing the building, he noted.
The original 60,000-square-foot Davis Street Building was purchased from Owens Community College in 2006 and was renovated to accommodate the College of Pharmacy, the College of Education and the biology program. The additional space provided by the construction of the Davis Street addition has had a ripple effect across campus.
With the biology program moving to the new addition, labs and offices in the original Davis Street building are now available to the College of Pharmacy, allowing them to meet accreditation standards for square footage. Also, biology classes and labs that were housed in Brewer Science Hall and Frost Science Center moved to the new addition. This allowed for renovations that consolidated physics and geology classes and labs on the second floor of Brewer and chemistry classes and labs on the second floor of Frost, including the addition of a new chemistry technology resource center for students.
Environmental, safety and occupational health management facilities remained on the first floor of Brewer. The 90-seat Martin Lecture Hall in Brewer also received a facelift with new paint, new carpet, a new screen, a new sound system and sound panels on the walls. Martin Lecture Hall was remodeled in the early 1990s through a gift in memory of the parents of N. Susan Bakaitis, Ph.D., former administrator and professor of chemistry, and this is the first time it has been extensively refurbished. The renovations were necessary in order to serve students well and were paid for out of operational funds.