The S. J. Quinney College of Law’s new building continues to incorporate innovative features related to energy efficiency and sustainability. Some of the most exciting features include the following:
Building Envelope Testing
Due to increased interest in high-performance buildings such as the College of Law facility, more attention is being paid to how envelope assemblies affect interior comfort and energy performance. In May, our contractor Big-D constructed a small mockup of the building to test a variety of standards including exterior cladding, water channel layer, air barrier, vapor barrier, and an insulation barrier, each of which must be installed correctly without holes or voids in any of the layers to provide the intended performance. Issues were detected during the first test of the envelope. These concerns have been carefully reviewed and addressed. Two additional tests of the building envelope have shown that the corrections made have more than resolved the issues, and the leakage rate for the revised envelope was approximately one half of the required design standard, even before the final layer in the envelope was added. The College of Law has also ensured that the contractors have developed a careful quality control program for the subcontractors working on this aspect of the project to ensure that construction matches design standards.
Stephen Conners a Finalist for Energy Innovator Award
Stephen Conners, President of Colvin Engineering, was recently recognized as one of three Energy Innovator Finalists at the Utah Governor’s Energy Development Summit. One of the most significant sustainability features in the new College of Law building is the thermal storage tank for the building cooling system. In a traditional building, a mechanical chiller system is used to provide air conditioning. Between 10 and 15 percent of a building’s yearly energy consumption typically is attributed to a chiller system. During the design phase, Connors became interested in utilizing irrigation well water for the source of cooling for the new building. An irrigation well is located in the Rice-Eccles parking lot, across from the site of the new building. Mr. Connors developed the preliminary design concept and then, working with the project architects and engineers, determined that the irrigation ground water could successfully be used as a source of cooling for the building and then recycled right back into the irrigation system, which then recharges the aquifer from which the water was drawn.
To avoid bird-window collisions, the new building is using new bird-safe glass technology. The Ornilux Bird Film is currently available from a single glazing supplier, Arnold Glass. At the time of the bid, the glass available from Arnold was not on par with the thermal performance used for the project design standard, PPG’s Solarban 70XL. Nevertheless, in consultation with the Alternative Visions Fund representative, the College of Law decided that greater impact would be achieved by championing the innovative film technology. With a large, high-profile project such as the College of Law being awarded to the supplier with the anti-collision technology (Arnold), the College believed that other glass companies would be more inclined to adopt or develop similar technologies. Last December, Arnold Glass released a new glass that was on par with the project design basis. Though more expensive, the project now will be able to achieve both the superior energy savings as well as the implementation of the anti-collision bird film. The additional expense fits within the overall budget for the building’s sustainable features. The project will be the first in the country to use the new glass.
Other Sustainability Features
Several other sustainability features in the building have been installed in recent months. These include some of the stormwater retention facilities (now underground) to retain storm water onsite, the infrastructure for the liquid beam heating and cooling system, infrastructure for the radiant heating system in some portions of the building, and the framing structure for the solar power-generating shading structure on the green roof terrace. (Construction site visitors have been particularly excited by the green roof terrace, one of many features funded with the Alternative Visions Fund grant.)
The Alternative Visions Fund of the Chicago Community Trust has provided a $4.5 million gift to the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, in support of the sustainability features in the new College of Law building. For more information, click here »