Sustainability in the Joe

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 through it’s design to meet LEED Silver certification.

Low-impact development project

The construction of the Joe Crowley Student Union was executed as a low-impact development project to protect water quality. There were permeable paves installed in the Gateway Plaza that allow for infiltration of storm water and for the runoff to be directed to the lawn. Additionally, the slopes to the north of the building are protected from erosion by mulch and straw wattles.

Sustainability features in the Joe

The following list includes some of the many features making the building 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • The building's chiller equipment is highly efficient. With a free cooling plate and frame, the equipment reduces water chiller energy consumption.
  • The building is made of natural or cast stone as well as oversized brick. The brick reduces manufacturing energy and construction waste.
  • The awnings are made of structural steel and other metal products (decking, studs, etc.). They also include a high percentage of recycled material.
  • 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 Engineer and Architect designed the coordinated glass and the insulation specifications to optimize energy savings for the HVAC.
  • The fireplace mantles are made by Millwork Products that have a 40 percent recycled paper content.
  • The ceilings are made of light-reflecting materials. The tiles are made from 45-61 percent recycled content.
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.