In addition to the “smart” glass, other energy-saving features include interior light fixtures with daylighting and control capabilities that adjust based on the quantity of natural light from the windows. On sunny days, for example, many if not all the light fixtures will automatically turn off.
The HVAC system uses high efficiency chillers and boilers. The ventilation system and air quality are constantly monitored, especially in the labs; airflow is filtered using the latest technology for electronic filtration. All these and more energy features increase efficiency and reduce energy cost.
Saving, collecting and managing water is a top priority, too. Around the exterior of the Science Center are rain gardens and permeable pavers to help mitigate storm water runoff. The biology department greenhouse will be linked to a 1,000-gallon rainwater collection cistern for watering its plants. This collection system will help reduce the building’s demand for potable water, in addition to the installation of low-flow water fixtures in sinks and dual-flush toilets. The low-flow fixtures alone will provide 20 percent water savings.
According to Brittany Drummond, North Central’s sustainability coordinator, reducing waste has been part of the campus culture for years. “This and other sustainability efforts will only expand in the new Science Center,” she said. “Research labs, the greenhouse and café will compost materials. Recycling stations for electronics, plastic bags and even granola bar wrappers, as well as waste receptacles for routine landfill and recycling, will be located throughout the building.”
Showcased inside the center is a wall display about the College’s campus-wide sustainability initiatives. Drummond said viewers can see a campus map that pinpoints all the sustainability projects. They also can read about North Central’s academic major in environmental studies, sustainability goals, accolades, and renewable energy projects, like the solar PV array, solar thermal panels and geothermal energy.
For more information about the Science Center and its March 27 opening, click here.