Green Buildings

Sampson Hoffland Laboratories has an LEED gold certification.

As a result of signing the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC), Luther has committed to all new campus construction being built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED silver standard or equivalent. The Green Building Policy was written by the Food, Purchasing, and Waste Task Group.

About LEED

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. Developed by U.S. Green Building Council, LEED addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies for sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Sampson Hoffland Laboratories

The Sampson Hoffland Laboratories (SHL) building accumulated enough points during construction to seek gold certification—the second highest rating!

Building Choices

Recirculating Chilled Water: Cooling water used to remove heat from scientific instrumentation will be plumbed into the building chilled water recirculation loop rather than wasting treated city water.

Diverting Construction Waste: During demolition and construction, the crew was aiming to divert 75 percent of waste materials from disposal.

Local and Recycled Materials: Around 10 percent of the materials used in the building were sourced regionally, within 500 miles. Around 20 percent of the material used in the new building is made from post-consumer recycled content. That means 20 percent of the new building is recycled!

Low-emissivity Glass: This thin, transparent coating on the building windows reflects radiant heat, allowing heat to be reflected back into the building during the winter, and reflected away from the building during the summer.

Green Tags: Luther has purchased enough Green Tags to equal 100 percent of the power used by this new building. Green Tags are proof of renewable energy production.

Low Volatile Organic Compounds: These harmful compounds exist in materials all over our buildings—in paints, carpets, sealants and furnishings. Materials with low volatile organic compounds were chosen for the new building.

The DOAS: The Dedicated Outdoor Air System provides the building with 100 percent fresh air while saving energy. The Sampson Hoffland Laboratories uses four enthalpy wheels that are positioned and rotated between a two-duct system. In one section of the duct, fresh-air flows through the wheel and in the other section of the duct building exhaust air flows through the wheel. The wheel slowly rotates between these two environments and transfers energy from one to the other. This system is estimated to save 20-25 percent on energy for air conditioning!

Green Features

Rain Garden: Rainwater that falls on the roof and adjacent site is piped to the rain garden, where it is allowed to return to the water table rather than piped to the storm sewer and routed to the river. The plants that have deep roots were chosen for the garden to aide in allowing the water to return to the water table.

Protection of native habitat: The oak savanna that once dominated this area will be seen to the east of the building. This will provide wildlife habitat, decrease the need for mowing and maintenance, and reduce water runoff.

Parking: There are 2 preferred parking spots that are reserved for hybrids or low emission vehicles. This provides an incentive for driving a more environmentally friendly vehicle.

Alternative Transportation: To encourage bicycling as a form of transportation, this new building has a shower and changing room to accommodate hot, sweaty employees after their ride to work. Bicycle storage is located adjacent to both entrances.

Restroom water usage: The toilets are designed to maximize the efficiency of the water used on every flush. There are two settings—one for liquids and one for solids. Ultra low flow urinals and aerators also save water.

Occupancy Sensors: Ultrasonic and infrared sensors (“eyes and ears”) detect occupancy and adjust the lighting and airflow. Unoccupied rooms automatically shut the lights off and reduce the airflow for energy conservation.

Green Roof: In October 2013 a green roof was installed on the entry way to Sampson Hoffland. The green roof is approximately 1500 square feet and helps block the sun from beating down on the roof, thus reducing the demand for air conditioning. Plants and soil in this "living roof" also reduce the risk of rainwater runoff.

In addition, SHL and Valders Hall of Science are cleaned to Green Cleaning Policy specifications. Practices include the use of green cleaning products, employing cleaning processes that benefit public health and the environment, and purchasing environmentally preferable custodial products.

Luther's new Aquatic Center was also built to LEED standards.

Geothermal Technology

Student preparing to bike from Baker Village to Luther campus.
Student preparing to bike from Baker Village to Luther campus.

Luther has made two substantial investments in geothermal technology. In 1999 Luther built Baker Village, a 33,000-square-foot, two-story student-housing complex. Luther’s student environmental concerns group (ECO), had encouraged the administration to utilize a geothermal system in this new construction in order to capture the constant temperatures beneath the surface of the ground.

It took some time to find architects and contractors familiar with geothermal, but eventually a system was installed that utilizes 88 vertical closed loops at a 150-foot depth. Luther’s Office of Facilities estimates the heating and cooling costs for Baker Village are 40 percent below similar costs in other buildings on campus.

Entrance to the Center for the Arts.
Entrance to the Center for the Arts.

In 2003 Luther built a two-level, 60,000-square-foot building for the college’s art and theater/dance departments. In collaboration with our electric utility, Alliant Energy, Luther chose a high-efficiency geothermal energy system to heat and cool the Center for the Arts (CFA). The system required drilling 86 wells to a depth of 300 feet in order to tap the constant temperature of the earth below the ground. Local contractors drilled the wells and installed the 248-ton system that includes 52 two-speed units ranging from one to 15 tons.

The building also uses a state-of-the-art Energy Management Control System, special humidity controls and sound dampening technology. While the geothermal system was initially more expensive to install, the added investment has already been paid back in energy savings in less than five years.

Recycled Materials

During renovation of the Dahl Centennial Union in 2006, over 80 percent of the demolition materials were reused or recycled. Recovered items were made available to the community and the remains were recycled.