Sustainability in the Joe

Designed to meet LEED Silver certification

In addition to meeting students' desires for comfortable space and flexible event venues, the Joe Crowley Student Union also embodies students' concerns for environmental sustainability.

Low Impact Development Project

The construction of the Joe Crowley Student Union was executed as a low-impact development project.

Learn more about the project.

Below is a list, in no particular order, of all the sustainability features in the building:

  • The exterior materials are durable and sustainable
  • The building has shading devices that transfer and extend the daylight using light shelves which bounce the visible light towards the ceiling to reflect deeper into the room.
  • Numerous bike racks were installed around the building
  • The landscaping consists of on-site water reclamation with permeable paving on the Gateway Plaza. There is also a drip irrigation system with soil erosion finishes at critical exposure areas
  • The building has high efficiency glass with low-emissivity (low-E). Low-E helps with visible transmittance and lowering the total heat flow through the windows.
  • A new shuttle stop was installed to encourage mass transportation
  • Exterior lighting is controlled by a photocell and time clocks. The photocell uses low resistance once it has made contact with light.
  • The interior tile is made from post-industrial recycled material as well as recycled glass and meets the recycled content standards.
  • All exits are lit with LED lamps to reduce power consumption
  • The vestibule entrance reduces dust and air-borne pollutants.
  • The extension of the chilled water piping with the Knowledge Center system is incorporated to allow future sharing of chilled water at off-season cooling usage.
  • There are variable frequency drives on the fan and pump systems. These reduce energy requirements at non-peak periods.
  • All of the water heaters are highly efficient
  • The first floor offers waterless urinals
  • The building's chiller equipment is highly efficient. With a free cooling plate and frame, the equipment reduces water chiller energy consumption
  • The electrical conductors are oversized to reduce energy loss due to voltage drop.
  • The building is made of natural or cast stone as well as oversized brick. The brick reduces manufacturing energy and construction waste
  • All of the furniture is made with recycled materials including metals, plastic, etc.
  • The awnings are made of structural steel and other metal products (decking, studs, etc.). They also include a high percentage of recycled material
  • The interior materials are low combustible and low smoke producing to aid with the four fireplaces in the building.
  • The carpet is made with recycled backing which has low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) rather than using adhesive backing. The carpet itself is made with post-industrial recycled content as well as organic content. All of the excess waste was recycled and at the end of the carpet's lifecycle it will be recycled also.
  • To help with light pollution control, the light fixtures have day and night lighting controls. The exterior light fixtures are a cut off type of fixture that do not allow any light to be admitted above the fixture.
  • The walls have an insulation R-Value ranging from 15 to 20. The higher the R-Value means more insulating with less material. It also has better sound control through walls and absorbs more noise.
  • The building has a high thermal mass to reduce susceptibility to exterior temperature swings.
  • The Engineer and Architect designed the coordinated glass and the insulation specifications to optimize energy savings for the HVAC
  • There are filtered air systems on every floor
  • The kitchen has high efficiency food service equipment.
  • The fireplace mantles are made by Millwork Products that have a 40 percent recycled paper content.
  • The utilities for the building are hidden, enhancing the natural views. There are also clear glass windows with sunscreens and glare reducing glazing to provide for better viewing.
  • The building uses a daylight harvesting strategy which maximizes the use of natural day lighting through a series of sunscreens and light shelves coupled with automatic lighting controls to minimize energy usage.
  • The ceilings are made of light-reflecting materials. The tiles are made from 45-61 percent recycled content.
  • The light color interior material reduces the cooling loads and the higher reflectivity aids in daylight harvesting.
  • Building management DDC control the heating, cooling and lighting which reduces energy.
  • The building ductwork is sized for lower velocity which lowers the horsepower and energy consumption
  • The water used for heating the building is from the campus loop system which utilizes the excess water capacity already in the system from other buildings.
  • There is efficient indirect lens lighting in all of the office spaces
  • Throughout the building, there are occupancy sensors that turn the lights off when the room is not in use. The public and common spaces are controlled with the occupied/unoccupied mode as well.
  • The metal halide exterior lighting is energy-efficient for longer operational hours.
  • The entire building has a sealed envelope. The building envelope is the combination of the foundation, wall and roof assemblies all working together to provide a comfortable and safe environment in a building.
  • The roof is insulated with a minimum R-Value of 30
  • The plumbing fixtures are water efficient with ultra-low flushing toilets and urinals. There are also reduced flow faucets and shower fixtures in every restroom. The water is heated with a highly efficient natural gas.
  • Low-noise fans placed on the roof for the air handler eliminates the need for an alternator which reduces the fan size and energy consumption.
  • The building has a high efficiency cooling tower
  • Skylights and daylight tubes in the ballrooms and in the back-of-house areas reduce artificial light usage to minimize energy consumption.
  • The "cool" roof reflects the sun's rays and keeps the building cooler.