UNC Asheville’s buildings have set new campus standards for energy efficiency and sustainability because of our long-term planning process for sustainable building. UNC Asheville follows LEED Design Guidelines, with new construction stressing a high‑performance building envelope and use of high‑recycled‑content materials. UNC Asheville’s Sam Millar and Whitesides Hall buildings were designed and built to LEED Silver standards. The university has opted to renovate rather than replace older buildings wherever possible, conserving embedded energy, maximizing reuse and recycling of building materials, and adding energy efficiency design features. Overlook Hall, for example, features room by room plug load monitoring and a 24 kW solar array.
The Whitesides Hall Classroom building employs ground-source pump heating and cooling system, a green, vegetated roof, an excellent building envelope, and extensive daylighting. As a result, Whitesides Hall, completed in 2006, uses just 20 percent of the energy than that of adjacent, similarly sized Carmichael Hall, which was constructed in 1966.
UNC Asheville recently celebrated Rhoades Hall earning the LEED® Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), making it the first award on campus! Read more about the exciting news here- LEED® Gold
In addition to the award, Rhoades Hall [which opened in 1961] was renovated. New plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems were installed. Larger, energy efficient windows were installed, and gypsum interior wall covering aids in sealing the building. Occupancy sensors turn off lights when rooms are empty, and a rainwater cistern collects water for low-flush toilets. At the start of the project, about fifty percent of the materials removed from the building were recycled in separate waste streams. Wood cabinets and shelving, fume hoods, electronics, and heating and cooling materials were removed and reused in other buildings on campus.
Sam Millar Facilities Management Complex
The Sam Millar building, which houses the UNC Asheville Office of Sustainability, incorporates a number of environmentally sustainable design features: the building’s solar thermal system provides domestic hot water for the building, a 10,000 gallon rainwater catchment system supplies water for the building’s toilets, landscape irrigation and vehicle washing, the surrounding bio-retention ponds clean water before it enters the campus streams that feed into nearby creeks and the local river system, pervious pavement is used outside of the building to prevent water runoff, the building is insulated with recycled cotton batt, the entire complex uses a geothermal heating and cooling system, which draws energy from the earth’s crust.
UNC Asheville’s newest and greenest residence hall was completed in 2012. The hall functions with a number of different sustainable components, including a solar photovoltaic array, chilled beams, ground source heating and cooling, student bedroom plug-load monitoring, lighting controls, low solar gain, natural ventilation, clean air quality, and reuse of materials.
Building Operations & Maintenance
Chilled or hot water is circulated through induction diffusers mounted flush in room ceilings for cooling and heating. Less air is circulated than in conventional systems, since additional room air flow is induced through the chilled beams, which circulates air in the room via convection. Low volume air supply and not having a return air system allows for the use of smaller supply air fans, which saves energy.
Ground Source Heating and Cooling
Student Bedroom Plug-load Monitoring
Receptacles in each student bedroom are fed from separate 120 volt branch circuits. Power usage is monitored and communicated to the building automation system. A web based application for kiosks is being developed to motivate changes in personal habits to reduce electrical consumption.
Lighting, Solar Gain, Air Quality, and Reuse of Materials
Occupancy sensors control lighting in common areas. High performance glazing and operable windows were provided to minimize solar gain and allow naturally ventilated rooms. No or low volatile organic compounds (VOCs) paints, adhesives and sealants were used throughout. Many construction materials used both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content.