The verdict is out — the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law has one of the best buildings in the country, according to newly released rankings from PreLaw magazine.
The College of Law received an A+ ranking from the magazine, which considered aesthetics, space, amenities and location as factors in determining the top law buildings in the U.S.
The latest accolade for the College of Law follows other honors, including a prestigious LEED platinum designation awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2016.
“LEED” stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The USGBC awards this designation to buildings that meet standards of being green and efficient in their design. LEED-certified spaces use less energy and water; save money for taxpayers, businesses and other building owners; reduce carbon emissions; create jobs; and establish a healthier environment for residents, workers, and the larger community. The University of Utah’s law school was the first in the western United States designed to earn such a designation and in 2016 was believed to be only the second law school in the country to achieve that status.
The law school built its LEED platinum building with assistance from the Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust, which provided $4.5 million in support of the sustainability features. Many of the law school’s sustainability features have served as examples for other building projects on the campus of the University of Utah, the Salt Lake community, and the nation, and some are models of innovation. For example, windows in the building have ultraviolet spider web designs that are visible to birds but not humans, greatly reducing bird collisions.
Notable features that contributed to the building’s LEED platinum status include:
- A building designed with the goal of achieving 65 percent reduction in energy costs beyond code requirements through smart structural design and passive solar lighting and heating.
- Investments in onsite solar power generation and maximum use of natural light.
- Chilled beam cooling and heating systems and highly efficient fixtures.
- Recycling and re-using grey water to flush toilets.
The building also incorporates passive energy strategies that reduce overall energy consumption through:
- Enhanced exterior insulation to reduce thermal conductivity.
- Fixed exterior sunshades to minimize solar heat gain during the summer.
- Exterior overhangs that also act as sunshades to reduce the building heat gain in the summer.
- Low emissivity, insulating glass to reduce thermal transmittance and glare while improving visible light transmittance.
In addition, the building achieves energy savings through the integration of more efficient energy-using systems, including:
- The chilled beam HVAC system to heat and cool the building, with radiant floor heating and cooling to supplement the chilled beam system.
- A heat recovery system to transfer the heat from the exhausted conditioned air into the fresh ventilation air.
- Regenerative elevators to convert the excess energy generated by an elevator into electricity that can be used elsewhere in the building.
- An enhanced lighting control system that includes occupancy sensors and daylight sensors.
A complete list of the building features used to evaluate its LEED platinum status is available by clicking here.