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This artist's rendering shows the exterior of Kroon Hall, which will be Yale's "most green building" when it is completed later this year.

Newest campus buildings have
many earth-friendly features

As it is constructing new facilities or renovating existing ones, Yale continues to strive for “outstanding environmental performance” in its facilities. Here are brief profiles of Yale’s latest green buildings:

Malone Center

The 64,700-square-foot laboratory building was completed in 2005. Located in an area with readily available public transportation, the building is adjacent to the 80-mile-long Farmington Canal Greenway, and the building design accommodated the restored Greenway.

The landscaping features native or adapted species, eliminating the need for irrigation. All storm water is retained and filtered on site, ensuring that the project does not add water to the municipal storm water system. Reflective roofing materials reduce the urban heat-island effect.

Building materials were selected for their high recycled content. When possible, locally manufactured materials and products were used. Over 75% of the building’s woodwork is from sustainably managed forests. The polished concrete floors are durable and easy to clean — no harsh chemicals are required for maintenance. Paints, coatings and adhesives were chosen for low emission of contaminants that can lead to sick building syndrome. More than 90% of the project’s construction waste was recycled.

Potable water use has been reduced by 85% by reusing the waste stream of the lab water purification system for toilet flushing. The use of this “grey water,” along with low-flow taps, saves 95,000 gallons per year.

Placing offices on the building’s perimeter gives a direct view to the outdoors in 90% of the workspaces, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Occupants breathe 100% filtered outdoor air.

The Malone Center uses almost 10% less energy than allowed by code. Steam for heating and chilled water for cooling are produced efficiently in Yale’s central power plant and piped to the building. The ventilating system recovers heat from the exhaust air, returning that heat to the building. The building is outfitted with occupancy sensors that switch off lights and reduce ventilation rates when labs or offices are unoccupied.

When the light through the north facing glass and other windows is sufficient, the artificial lighting dims, maintaining a constant light level in the hallway and offices. A process called “commissioning” was used to verify that all the mechanical and electrical systems were integrated and working correctly before the building was occupied. An extensive monitoring system was installed to collect data and monitor the operation of the building. With this data, Yale can continue to make improvements to the systems in the future.

Sculpture Building

The 51,000-square-foot space houses undergraduate and graduate sculpture programs of the Yale School of Art. Located near public transportation, the building accommodates bicycle commuters with bike racks and showers.

The studio space features a large expanse of windows providing a high level of natural day lighting, dramatically reducing the need for artificial lighting, and enabling views of the surrounding environment. The building is outfitted with occupancy sensors to switch off lights and, when the natural light in perimeter occupied spaces is sufficient, the artificial lighting dims. The facades of the building facing south and east are outfitted with fixed external shading to lessen the summertime solar load of the building.

Paneling in the building is made from 100% post-consumer recycled newspapers. More than half of the building materials were assembled and 78% were harvested within 500 miles. Beneath the building’s external shading is a curtain wall that uses an innovative new product called Nanogel. The Nanogel is formed as a translucent panel, which achieves a high level of energy savings while providing the user with access to natural light.

Waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets and low-flow lavatories significantly reduce water use. Storm water from the roof of the main Sculpture Building and surrounding landscape is used for flushing the toilets. The water-saving systems reduce water consumption by 65%.

The windows in the building’s studio space can be opened by the occupants to control ventilation. The first floor woodshop, spray booth and metalworking shop are equipped with an exhaust system that ensures the swift removal of airborne irritants while minimizing energy use.

Almost 90% of the project’s construction waste was recycled. A full garbage and waste recycling room is located on the ground floor and individual recycling receptacles are provided on all floors.

Kroon Hall

“It will be Yale’s most green building, a symbol of the school’s ideals and values,” Gus Speth, dean of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), said at the groundbreaking for Kroon Hall in the spring of 2007. “It will be an inspirational and instructional model of sustainable design.”

Scheduled for completion in late 2008, Kroon Hall’s design is rich in sustainable features. London-based Hopkins Architects designed the facility. Stephen Kellert, chair of the school’s building committee and the Tweedy Ordway Professor of Social Ecology at F&ES, said, “Hopkins is one of only a few firms in the world that combines the two dimensions of sustainability: low-impact design, which minimizes adverse effects on the natural environment like carbon emissions, waste and pollution, and positive environmental design, which maximizes the physical and mental health and productivity of people by connecting them to the natural environment through a built environment.”

Kroon Hall will be a long, slender, four-story structure with a rounded roofline. To let the architecture do much of the work of heating, cooling and lighting the building, the east-west alignment will maximize exposure to the south, increasing solar heat gain in winter and natural lighting year-round.

To reduce energy requirements through thermal mass in the structure of the building, the main structural elements of Kroon Hall will be concrete. Through its design and the use of geothermal energy, Kroon Hall will eliminate the need for steam and chilled water for heating and cooling. Solar power will supply a portion of the building’s electricity requirements. The rest will be provided through alternative sources such as wind.

Storm runoff will be captured in holding tanks and filtered naturally for use in flush toilets, and waterless urinals will be used to save water. The building will prominently feature timber harvested from sustainably managed forests, including Yale-Myers Forest in northeastern Connecticut. Furniture will be made from recycled and recyclable materials with no volatile organic compounds.

John Bollier, associate vice president of operations for Yale Facilities, said the building reflected an emerging “holistic” approach at Yale to reducing the campus’ environmental impact.

“I think we’ll look at Kroon Hall one day as an early model of what can be,” Bollier said.


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