'Green' building certified gold
The extensive renovation of Lincoln Hall is part of UIC's ongoing Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.
Photo: Wendy Wagoner
Lincoln Hall, a renovated classroom building on the east campus, has won gold-level certification for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, meeting standards set by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council.
The building's extensive overhaul is part of UIC's ongoing Climate Action Plan to reduce campus greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency.
"This shows that in these times of limited financial resources, our best strategy for sustainable and climate action is to optimize use of existing space, to the extent feasible," said Cynthia Klein-Banai, associate chancellor for sustainability.
"We were pretty certain we could get silver, and that the up-front investment would pay off in energy and maintenance savings," she added. "But even with a tight budget, we got to gold."
Since LEED certification for new construction and major renovations was established 10 years ago, about 3,000 projects around the country have been certified at four rating levels: certified, silver, gold and platinum.
The ratings represent nationally accepted benchmarks for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
The Chicago architectural firm Design Organization created the blueprints for the brighter, highly adaptive makeover.
Lincoln Hall's $13.7 million renovation was completed last summer and open for students for the fall 2009 semester.
The redesign includes oases where students gather informally to collaborate on projects; classroom furniture that can be reconfigured to meet varying needs of instructors; new multimedia equipment; updated wiring, plumbing and tile; and decorating schemes shown to be more conducive to learning.
New window treatment increases the use of natural light, said project manager Gregory Quinn, associate director for capital programs.
"With the new curtain wall, with energy-efficient glazing, a lot more natural light is available to reach into classrooms," said Quinn, "so much so that lights in the classrooms automatically dim in response to natural light, thereby saving energy."
Lincoln Hall shares original design characteristics with, and is physically connected to, neighboring Grant and Douglas Halls. Grant was renovated before Lincoln; Douglas is undergoing a $16.3 million renewal.
All three are heated and cooled by a shared geothermal system that not only cuts energy consumption and costs, but allows more flexible temperature control than conventional systems.
Lincoln is equipped with rooftop solar panels UIC's first campus installation of solar photovoltaic panels. Solar panels will also be installed on Douglas, partially funded through a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.
A lobby monitor in Lincoln shows how much electricity the panels generate.
"Not only will we use this to see how effective the system is for providing electricity from a renewable energy source, it provides an opportunity for students, faculty and staff to learn about how these systems work and see it in action," Klein-Banai said.
Below: new window treatments increase the use of natural light in Lincoln Hall classrooms, adding to the building's energy efficiency.
Photo: Wendy Wagoner