Published on March 2nd, 2011 | by Summer Minor


Eastern Michigan University’s Science Building Strives for Silver LEED Certification

Science buildings are usually energy hogs, sucking up electricity and gas through their lab rooms that take on high energy needs. But the Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is making their improved science building LEED certified through changes such as a green roof and a radiant cooling system.

The $90 million dollar energy-efficient renovation of the Mark Jefferson Science Building should ring the building up to Silver LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Designed by the Ann Arbor, Michigan, office of architecture firm Lord, Aeck & Sargent, the new and improved science building will host more studenjts than ever before and at the fraction of the energy usage it previously had. The building should be finished by August 2012, just in time for a new batch of students to enjoy the marvels of green design.

Originally built in 1969, the 180,000-square-foot building is getting an 80,000-square-foot addition as well as the new green designs. The existing building will be renovated to meet the new greener standards that EMU has for their science department. When completed, the building should be a wonder to see.

One of the most impressive renovations is the design of a dedicated outdoor air system (DOAS). This radiant cooling system will help keep energy costs low by utilizing a cooled beam system for the building. This is the first of it’s kind in use in Michigan. Through the use of radiating cooling processes, the building will be kept cool without the use of traditional energy hogging practices.

The EMU building is also being equipped with an impressive green roof, planted with droughtresistant sedums native to Michigan. This roof is part of the university’s natural stormwater management system. The system was designed to retain and treat stormwater for further use.

The building also features a rain garden below the main entrance way that helps improve the building’s ability to store and treat stormwater. The rain garden features basins that have been planted with native plants to look like wetlands. These basins pre-treat the stormwater coming in and stores most of the water, with excess flowing into the EMU’s stormwater management system.

When completed, the new and improved science building will be larger than before, but should cost the same as if does now to run. Thanks in part to new energy efficient designs, the building is expected to meet all the criteria for the Silver LEED certification.

Photo credit: © 2011 Curt Clayton

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About the Author

Summer is a freelance writer and mother of 3 who is passionate about caring for the earth. She enjoys sharing news and stories on how everyone can make their homes a little greener. She also blogs at Finding Summer and works for a living at

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