North Campus, Flint buildings earn sustainability ratings

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Three University of Michigan buildings recently earned certifications for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design from the U.S. Green Building Council in recognition of sustainability efforts.

The Ford Motor Company Robotics Building on North Campus was rated LEED Gold. The new Dance Building within the School of Music, Theatre & Dance on North Campus, and the William R. Murchie Science Building expansion at UM-Flint were rated LEED Silver.

Ford Motor Company Robotics Building

The Ford Motor Company Robotics Building is a four-story, 134,000-square-foot complex that serves as the hub of the U-M Robotics Institute.

The complex’s first three floors feature custom robotics labs, makerspaces, classrooms and offices, while the fourth floor houses a Ford robotics and mobility research lab and 100 Ford researchers and engineers.

Photo of the atrium of the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building on North Campus.
The atrium of the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building on North Campus. (Photo courtesy of Architecture, Engineering and Construction)

Sustainable features include:

  • An open staircase — featuring prominent natural light — in the main building lobby. Its presence invites occupants to use stairs, promoting health and well-being while reducing elevator electricity.
  • Energy cost savings of nearly 31 percent, relative to an ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy code-compliant building.
  • Low-flow bathroom fixtures that reduce potable water use by nearly 35 percent, compared with Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) adhesive and sealant products, paints and coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood and agrifiber products.
  • Close proximity to public transit and basic services such as restaurants, shops and places of worship.

During construction, nearly 84 percent of on-site generated waste was diverted from the landfill. The building includes recycled materials and content manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of the building.

Dance Building

SMTD’s new Dance Building includes 24,000 square feet, a 100-seat performance venue, dance studios, locker rooms and administrative space.

It also is the first U-M project certified under the newer, more stringent version of LEED (LEED v4).

Photo of SMTD’s new Dance Building on North Campus.
SMTD’s new Dance Building on North Campus. (Photo by Jim Haefner Photography)

Features include:

  • Energy cost savings of nearly 26 percent, relative to an ASHRAE 90.1-2010 energy code-compliant building.
  • Low-Impact Development and green infrastructure strategies that mimic the natural hydrology of the site while managing rainwater as close to the source as possible.
  • Native and adaptive plants that require no irrigation.
  • Low-flow bathroom fixtures that reduce potable water use by nearly 35 percent, compared with Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Views of the natural outdoor environment for 90 percent of regularly occupied areas.
  • Close proximity to public transit and basic services.

During construction, 76 percent of on-site generated waste was diverted from the landfill.

Murchie Science Building expansion

The Murchie Science Building expansion project adds an additional wing and 61,000 square feet of laboratories, active-learning classrooms and collaboration spaces for student organizations.

The expansion is the first LEED-certified building on the Flint campus, and is designed for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

Photo of the William R. Murchie Science Building expansion at UM-Flint.
The William R. Murchie Science Building expansion at UM-Flint. (Photo courtesy of UM-Flint)

Features include:

  • A 24 percent energy cost savings, relative to an ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy code-compliant building.
  • A stormwater-management system reduces the amount of rainwater runoff at the site. Additionally, the new system will improve water quality by removing sediment that would otherwise flow into local water sources.
  • Low-flow bathroom fixtures that reduce potable water use by more than 35 percent, compared with Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Low-VOC adhesive and sealant products, paints and coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood and agrifiber products.
  • Close proximity to public transit and basic services.

During construction, 93 percent of on-site generated waste was diverted from the landfill. The building includes recycled materials and content manufactured and extracted within 500 miles of the building.

Seventy-eight percent of total wood-based materials are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, having been harvested from forests that are responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable.

LEED and energy conservation efforts

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It recognizes sustainability efforts to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings on one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Murchie Science Building expansion, Dance Building, and Ford Motor Company Robotics Building are the 20th, 21st and 22nd U-M buildings to earn LEED designations. All new U-M buildings and additions with an estimated construction budget greater than $10 million are required to achieve at least LEED Silver certification.

In addition to pursuing LEED-certified construction and renovation projects, U-M is pursuing sustainable building standards and energy conservation measures via its commitment to achieving universitywide carbon neutrality.

Recently announced actions to that end include expanded plans for geothermal heating and cooling systems, $10 million in funding for additional LED lighting in approximately 100 buildings across the Ann Arbor, Flint and Dearborn campuses, and $300 million in “green bonds” for projects that align with U-M carbon neutrality goals.

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