UNC Greensboro’s newest construction project has started its rise from the site of the old McIver Building. When the Nursing & Instructional Building makes its debut in the spring of 2020, it will be so much more than a classroom and lab space. The 180,000-square-foot facility will be a shining example of sustainable building and design.
UNCG is pursuing LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – the most widely used green building rating system in the world – Silver certification or higher for the project.
In addition to providing more space for the School of Nursing, the facility will provide teaching and flexible laboratory research space for the School of Health and Human Sciences and the Departments of Biology and Chemistry, as well as classroom space.
Builders and designers are working now to incorporate a number of cost-effective and innovative elements that will support the environment as well as health and wellness.
Bioretention and water management
- The new building will have a bioretention system, where contaminants and sedimentation will be removed from stormwater runoff
- Once rain water enters a filtration tank, it will be used in low-flow fixtures and for irrigation
Dynamic building design
Designers employed biophilic methods, designing with materials, colors and light in a way that connects people with nature. Chris Roberts, principal and studio leader at LS3P Associates Ltd., calls it “bringing the outdoors in.”
- Strategically laid out to avoid critical root zones in existing trees
- Five-story atrium runs down the middle of the building, creating a lively, open space with natural light
- Pedestrian pathways and vegetated open space throughout the building
The building will house 39 labs, 14 classrooms, nine research suites and a community engagement center. “A lab building is an energy hog,” Roberts said. “The fact that this building will have labs and classrooms and still be one of the better energy-performing buildings on campus is a big deal.”
- Peak energy output (total energy produced) is expected to be only 1 to 2 percent over a year
- LED lights will be installed throughout the building
- Heat recovery: exhausted energy enters a heat wheel and gets preconditioned; run-around energy recovery heat exchanger: exhausted air will be used to preheat
- Low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles: parking lot will be home to solar electric vehicle charging stations
- Outdoor classroom
- Material reuse: Catalpa trees from the McIver Building site were salvaged, milled and treated and will be built into the outdoor classroom
- Native plants: The planting plan is focused on plants native to North Carolina that are able to withstand hot summers and resistant to drought. Plants include sourwood, witch hazel, corn, beans and native grasses
- Photovoltaic panel arrays (solar panels)
- Vegetated roof: mature, locally recommended plants and pedestal system to allow for roof drainage
- Low-slope high albedo roof: to reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than traditional dark-colored roofs
- Roof pavers: made of recycled materials
“We love to try to incorporate these things but are rarely able to,” said Roberts. “It’s exciting to see so many interventions within one project.”
Learn more about the new Nursing and Instructional building here.
Elizabeth L. Harrison, University Communications
Rendering courtesy of Chris Roberts, LS3P Associates Ltd.