Spring course develops eco-friendly buildings

By By Arthur Raymond

By Arthur Raymond

Thirty students will help design campus buildings that are more environmentally friendly as part of a course offered Spring Semester.

Students in Sustainability Practicum, a three-credit class, will develop plans for remodeling the Turpin Building and constructing a steam-powered co-generator on campus.

Cory Higgins, director of plant operations, said his department will seek input from the class on campus improvements.

“We’re very interested in the class’ design ideas and analysis in upcoming projects,” Higgins said.

Last spring, the class developed 10 enhancements for the Sutton Building, which will house the geology and geophysics programs. The building, located near the Physics Building on 100 South, is under construction.

Teams from the class worked with architects, construction managers, campus staff and faculty members to analyze, design and implement sustainable improvements.

Four of the projects were selected for use — a storm-water capture system, a xeriscaped rooftop and perimeter, tubular skylights and a real-time energy and water monitoring system. A $100,000 donation financed the start-up of these enhancements and an additional $50,000 is being raised to complete them.

Craig Forster, interim director of the U’s Office of Sustainability, said the program gives students “a fantastic opportunity for real-world experience in creating sustainable design.”

The program is open to all undergraduate and graduate students.

Course instructors are William Johnson, a professor of geology and geophysics, and Steve Burian, a professor of civil and environmental engineering. The class will also be mentored by instructors and staff from the Office of Sustainability, plant operations and facilities management.