Energy-conserving windows installed at Oxford Houses

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The Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Architecture, Engineering and Construction collaborated over the summer to replace windows at Oxford Houses in a move expected to significantly reduce energy use and save heating and cooling costs.

The project involved approximately 16,000 square feet of windows at the facility east of Central Campus on Oxford Road that is home to approximately 350 students, including those in LSA’s Sustainable Living Experience.

Aspects of the project include:

  • Replacing all exterior doors and windows.
  • Adding window film to reduce ultra-violet and indirect light, limiting direct heat gain while still allowing light. The film also reduces heat transfer during the summer and energy transfer during the winter.
  • Adding operable windows at the end of each corridor for natural cross ventilation.
  • Insulating steel columns between windows to minimize heat transfer and reduce condensation.
Photo of new windows at Oxford Houses.
New windows at Oxford Houses, such as these at the end of corridors to increase cross ventilation, will reduce energy costs and improve student residential experience. (Photo by Alex Bryan, Student Life)

“Improvements like the new windows at Oxford are a great step toward reducing our universitywide carbon impact,” said Joe Trumpey, associate professor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design and LSA’s Program in the Environment, and director of the Sustainable Living Experience. “We have to take action now, and projects that have high visibility and a quick payback should inspire others to get involved.”

The new windows were manufactured in Hillsdale. The project cost totaled approximately $2.45 million, and is expected to generate savings through decreased heating and cooling costs.

“There are many projects across Housing, Student Life, and the university that can be both a win for facility improvement and help us achieve our sustainability goals,” said John Healy, director of Student Life Facilities. “We’ll continue to find those opportunities and prioritize them.”

The project follows a universitywide commitment to carbon neutrality, announced in May. As part of this, U-M will launch a revolving fund for energy-efficiency projects, whereby energy savings will be reinvested to accelerate energy conservation projects on all three campuses and Michigan Medicine. While the fund is being designed, energy conservation measures will be funded across the university over the course of this academic year.

In addition, 18 new U-M construction or addition projects have earned LEED Silver certification or better from the U.S. Green Business Council since 2005.

(Update: This article has been amended from its original version to remove the time frame for the project cost to be recovered via energy savings.)

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