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Wieboldt Hall Renovation Earns LEED Gold

The recent $12 million Wieboldt Hall renovation achieved LEED Gold Certification by improving the comfort, reducing power and using recycled materials.

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by Judy Moore
CHICAGO, Ill. --- Northwestern University's Wieboldt Hall has been certified LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold for Commercial Interiors (CI 2.0) by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The recent $12 million Wieboldt Hall renovation project for the School of Continuing Studies achieved LEED Gold Certification by improving the comfort for the students, faculty and staff, by reducing power and energy consumption and the amount of construction waste, and by using recycled materials.

"We are very proud of our sustainability efforts at Northwestern University as recognized by achieving this certification from the USGBC," said Bonnie L. Humphrey, director of design and construction for facilities management.

The project's architect was the SmithGroup, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineer was WMA Consulting Engineers. The commissioning authority was E Cube Inc., and the LEED consultant was HJKessler Associates. Turner Construction Company was the contractor. Northwestern's Project Manager Susan Budinsky of facilities management, design and construction, managed the project.

Wieboldt Hall is home to the School of Continuing Studies and the Kellogg School of Management programs. It is one of the three original buildings built in 1926 on the University's downtown Chicago campus. During the past 82 years the building has gone through numerous renovations.

The most recent renovation provides the School of Continuing Studies with state-of-the-art classrooms and collaboration spaces for its growing student enrollment. The building now features a new main lobby that complements the character of the existing interior public spaces. The installation of new elevators facilitates the movement of students and staff between floors. The original building's mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems were replaced with updated efficient systems that perform to current standards. All of the work is compliant with current building codes and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines.

To reduce energy and water usage, new energy-efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures were installed throughout the area of renovation. Lighting control is accomplished via programmable dimming and relay panels and low voltage controls. New plumbing fixtures reduce water consumption and sewage.

Prior to occupancy the renovated floors went through a flush-out period so that off-gassing (the evaporation of volatile chemicals in non-metallic materials at normal atmospheric pressure) from construction materials, carpeting and paint would be minimized.

The following are some of the building improvements that have provided comfort for School of Continuing Studies students, faculty and staff:

• More than 90 percent of the regularly occupied spaces have direct line-of-sight views to the exterior.

• Large new replacement windows with clear insulating glass provide daylight to all of the occupied spaces, including classrooms, study rooms, the seminar room and the student lounge. Daylight control is provided by fabric mesh shades at each of the windows.

• The typical classrooms are designed for flexibility and can be reconfigured as needed to support the variety of program types and teaching styles that are part of the School of Continuing Studies. These student-centered learning environments incorporate advanced academic technologies for multimedia presentations. Two large, tiered classrooms are outfitted for distance learning. Special advanced technology applications are incorporated in these distance-learning classrooms to allow real-time video reception from off-site locations and distance transmission from the classroom.

• Thoughtful consideration for the lighting, acoustical and site line solutions at these distance classrooms have resulted in highly functional and attractive spaces for the students and faculty.

•Prior to the renovation the fourth and fifth floors were air-conditioned by window units. The new mechanical systems are energy efficient and have improved temperature controls. The heating and cooling system is tied to Northwestern University's Building Management System and incoming outside air is filtered.

• Different areas of the floors are zoned for temperature control, so for example, if Classroom A is warm and Classroom B is cold, the temperature can be adjusted in each space individually.

• Carbon dioxide sensors were installed in each classroom and call for additional outside air from the air-handling unit when levels increase above set point.

• All the equipment and appliances, such as computers, that were purchased are Energy Star, a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices.

• A process called "building commissioning" was used to verify that the heating, ventilating, air-conditioning and lighting systems were designed and installed according to the owner's requirements and occupant needs.

• Materials that were used, such as adhesives, sealants, paints, coatings, carpeting and furniture, were chosen for their low-emitting properties.

The U.S. Green Building Council, through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System® encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

LEED is a third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings' performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resource efficiency and indoor environmental quality. For more information about the USGBC visit http://www.usgbc.org/.

The Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center on the Evanston campus was the first building at Northwestern built with a specific goal to be certified in environmental sustainability by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) "green" building rating system. It also is the first and only building in the city of Evanston to be certified at the LEED Silver (NC 2.1) level.