Three Sustainable Sections Connected by Breezeways
The 29,656-square-foot Allen Education Center consists of three major sections connected by covered breezeways. All systems and materials have been designed to minimize environmental impact and support human health. This project sets a new standard for environmentally friendly public buildings in our state and region, and is the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum public building in North Carolina. The following is a list of important green features of the Education Center, which qualified it for LEED Platinum Certification:
Site Selection and Design
- The building site was chosen to protect existing vegetation, minimize earth moving, and make the most of solar heating and cooling design.
- Spectacular architecture, covered decks, porches, windows, relationship to site, gardens, and trails
- Efficient solar orientation
- Minimal disturbance to grade
- Protection of existing vegetation
- Water Conservation
Water-efficient native landscaping
- Native seed mixes used for steep slopes and open soil
- Low-flow plumbing
- First UNC site to use reclaimed water for toilet flushing and other non-potable uses
- Stormwater conservation and re-use
- Rainwater cisterns
- Rainwater gardens and retention swales
Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation
- Geothermal wells for efficient heating and air-conditioning
- Green elevators that work on traction, are more energy efficient, and don’t use hydraulic fluids
- Sophisticated building management system to track, manage, and report energy use, water use, and other performance features
- Photovoltaic panels
- Solar water-heating panels
- Natural lighting
- Sensors will automatically dim lights when daylight is strong
- To minimize transportation costs and carbon dioxide emissions, and to stimulate local economies, all materials will be locally and sustainably produced
- No wood will come from old growth forest; all will be from certified sustainable forests
- Diversion from landfill of construction waste
- Natural field stone from local sources
- Non-toxic and no off-gassing
- Healthy Building Climate
- Recycled, regional, and re-used materials
Furnishings and Finishes
- Low VOC-emitting materials used in furnishings and finishes
- Trees from the site made into lumber; no old growth timber used or disturbed
- Daylight and views from 90% of all spaces
- Operable windows
- Clean air systems
- Air quality monitoring
- Universal access design
Windows that Open
- Clerestory windows provide natural light throughout the building. The orientation and overhang allows direct light to enter in the winter and shades the building in the summer.
- Windows are operable for ventilation and to reduce reliance on central heat/air-conditioning.
- Photovoltaics covering the south-facing roof and generating renewable energy that feeds into a dual metering system.
- These panels capture solar energy and generate 20% or more of the power used in the building.
- Geothermal heat-exchange system that reduces energy use for heating and cooling.
- Circulating water through underground pipes takes advantage of consistent temperatures that are “cool” in the summer and “warm” in the winter.
- Stone cisterns located near the corners of the building collect and store rainwater from the roof.
- The water is stored for irrigation purposes.
- Rainwater is retained in ponds and swales. By slowing the water down and letting it filter through vegetation, pollutants are removed and most of the water is retained on the site.
- Porous pavers and underground storage of storm water that falls on parking areas.