Science Center Story #2
Green Initiatives Summary
22 August 2001
This is a different kind of story, but a fascinating one I think.
I have edited (mostly shortened) a piece written by a member of our
design team, Doug Gehley. Carr Everbach is acknowledged within this
piece, but I have want to do it one more time up-front. Carr led the
College's efforts here, at the same time as he developed and
maintained our great web-site. Kudos to both Doug and Carr.
One of the original concepts for the Science Center was to make it
as "green" as possible, which meant that we were to design the
buildings to be as energy efficient as possible while also having the
least environmental impact on the campus surrounds. Einhorn Yaffee
Prescott (EYP), being members of the US Green Building Council
(USGBC), recommended the LEED Green
Building Rating System to Swarthmore College as a guide for
decision-making during the programming, concept planning, schematic
design and design development phases.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design
and is a priority program of the USGBC. It is a voluntary,
consensus-based, market-driven building rating system based on
existing proven technology. It evaluates environmental performance
from a "whole building" perspective over a building's Life cycle,
providing a definitive standard for what constitutes a "green
Swarthmore College decided to use the LEED program as an
evaluation tool to guide it in making "green" design decisions
incorporating a consensus driven process. A special
"Green Team" was formed consisting of
members of the Science Center Building Committee, including faculty,
staff and students of Swarthmore College, and members of the Design
Team, including architects, engineers and landscape architects. Carr
Everbach led this effort for the College and we can thank Carr for
most of the good work that was accomplished. The Green Team's primary
task was to consider green initiatives and make consensus
recommendations for inclusion in the Science Center design.
The Green Team discussed many green design initiatives, and the
Team's work included review of how such proposals would impact the
teaching of science both through day-to-day performance and what
opportunities existed for such providing ongoing, educational
examples of greenness. The Green Team evaluated suitability of green
building systems and materials for the Science Center, including
issues such as durability and serviceability, energy savings, life
cycle costs and impact on the local and global environment. In
addition, cost benefit comparisons were made culminating in a list of
initiatives the Green Team recommend to the Science Center Building
Committee for inclusion in the building design.
The following is a summary of the initiates that will be
implemented for the Swarthmore College Science Center:
- Site Sediment and erosion control plans that conform to EPA's
Storm Water Management for Construction Activities, which includes
preventing loss of soil during construction and preventing
sedimentation of storm sewer or receiving streams.
- Providing suitable means for securing bicycles, with
convenient changing/shower facilities for use by cyclists.
- The opportunity for installing an alternative-fuel refueling
station in the parking lot.
- Controlling site disturbances, protecting trees, control lay
down and staging areas while maximizing site restoration and
- No net increase of stormwater runoff from existing to
developed conditions, which means no increase in stormwater runoff
to Crum Creek.
- Providing shade on impervious surfaces on the site, including
parking lots, walkways and plazas.
- Designing interior and exterior lighting such that zero
direct-beam illumination leaves the building site.
- Using high efficiency irrigation technology to reduce potable
- Using captured rain or recycled site water for irrigation to
reduce potable water consumption.
Energy and Atmosphere
- Design to meet the building energy efficiency and performance
requirements of ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration
and Air-conditioning Engineers) 90.1-1999 (more stringent criteria
than building code minimums), and where possible, exceed those
- Zero use of CFC-based refrigerants in the new building
mechanical systems, and complete a comprehensive CFC phase-out in
the renovated buildings.
- Eliminate HCFCs or Halon from the mechanical equipment and
fire suppression systems.
Materials and Resources
- Providing locations in the building dedicated to the
collection, separation and storage of materials for recycling.
- Maintaining existing building shells where possible in
- Recycle and salvaging construction, demolition and land
clearing waste. Of the 80 or so truck loads of demolition material
which were hauled off from the old lecture hall, some 70 of those
contained 100% recycled material. .
- Specifying building materials that are manufactured regionally
within a 500-mile radius, some of which may be harvested in this
- Using wood based materials certified in accordance with the
Forest Stewardship Council guidelines.
Indoor Environmental Quality
- Meeting the minimum ASHRAE requirements for ventilation for
acceptable indoor air quality.
- Zero exposure of nonsmokers to environmental Tobacco Smoke.
- Protecting the ventilation system components from
contamination during construction prior to occupancy.
- Specifying paints and coatings that meet the VOC and chemical
component limits of Green Seal requirements.
- Specifying carpets that meet the Carpet and Rug Institute
Green Label Indoor Air Quality Test program.
- Specifying composite wood products that contain no added
urea-formaldehyde or phenol-formaldehyde resins.
- Providing one operable window and one lighting control zone
per 200 s.f. of perimeter occupied areas.
- Providing controls for individuals for airflow, temperature
and lighting for half of the interior occupied areas.
- Complying with ASHRAE Standards for humidity control, and
installing permanent temperature and humidity monitoring systems.
- Designing the building to allow sunlight to reach the majority
of occupied areas while also allowing a direct line of sight to
the exterior for the majority of the occupants.
Innovations and Design Process
- Special consideration for design solutions that will lessen
the problem of bird impact on the building's glass surfaces,
including the use of special patterned glass.
- Providing an analog display-learning tool in the Commons area
reflecting indoor and outdoor environmental conditions, the
mechanical systems energy consumption to improve indoor air
quality, and the promotion of energy conservation through
- Use the building and landscape design to display the storm
water management systems as a "feature" of the building.
- Outdoor "classrooms" incorporated in the landscape and
building design to facilitate teaching and scientific discussion
in the open air.
- Utilizing a certified LEED designer during all phases of the
By implementing the items identified above, the Swarthmore College
Science Center will not only achieve certification under the LEED
program, but may well qualify for a Silver Level award. If all goals
are achieved, Swarthmore College will be recognized as a leader in
the greening of campuses throughout the United States.
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chair of the Science
Project User's Group, Rachel Merz
last updated 8/22/01