Swenson Civil Engineering was built as a model in sustainable development for students in the Civil Engineering Program. The building opened in July 2010 with Gold Level LEED Certification.
The Swenson Civil Engineering Building was built to reduce its energy consumption.
- The building’s controls were fine tuned to maximize efficiency and are operated on a schedule to reduce energy consumption when the building is empty.
- Heat recovery techniques such as wrap around coil heat recovery.
- A displacement ventilation system uses low velocity air movement from vents on the floor to supply heating and cooling; return vents are on the ceiling. This system is an efficient, as well as more comfortable, approach to indoor climate control.
- Premium efficiency fan and pump motors as well as variable drives that maintain a static pressure contribute to the ventilation system’s overall efficiency as well.
- Solar tubes provide an abundance of light for the structural and general project labs; light and occupancy sensors also reduce artificial lighting in the classrooms, labs and offices when unnecessary.
- Low-flow fixtures also help to reduce water consumption. In addition, hand driers are provided instead of paper towels. Air dryers are more sanitary and reduce landfill waste.
A unique and visible feature of Swenson Civil Engineering is its management of storm water runoff including scuppers made from reclaimed wood and a French drain system.
- The scuppers on the roof of the building were constructed from recycled wood; runoff is collected in tanks beneath the building.
- Permeable pavement allows storm water to pass through the surface and into the base layers, slowing and filtering runoff. The base layer underneath the pavers acts as a sand filter to remove suspended sediments and other pollutants.
- The building is surrounded by native plantings like prairie vegetation and grasses; these plants do not require irrigation and require less maintenance overall. A bridge made of recycled steel was constructed above one of the rain gardens.
- The section of the roof painted white helps to reflect sunlight, helping to keep the building cool, while the green roof helps to slow and filter runoff as well as insulate the building.
Awards and other info
- American Institute of Architects/Committee on Architecture Education (AIA/CAE) Educational Facility Design Award in December 2011
- AIA Chicago chapter’s Distinguished Building Award in November 2011
- The Evergreen Award from EcoStructure magazine, September 2012
- “Divine Design Award” for the re-used pickle-barrel scuppers, November 2014