LEED Certification

The University of Arkansas is committed to building green facilities that recognize best-in-class building strategies and practices by pursuing the US Green Building Council’s LEED™ certification.

With a sustainable, prosperous future in mind, we established early-on during our expansion project that optimizing performance for the campus community and long-term operations was fundamental.

From start-to-finish, our 21,158 square-foot project embraced practical, measurable strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high-performance in:

  • sustainable site development

  • water savings

  • energy and atmosphere efficiency

  • materials selection

  • indoor environmental quality

Here is a summary of the sustainable building features that were incorporated:

  • Measures were employed to control erosion during construction and to maximize the amount of vegetated open space.

  • Alternative forms of transportation are optimized in many ways; bicyclists are encouraged to ride to the building and use any one of the 48 bike racks located just outside the entrance with two showers available onsite if desired. Public transit route maps and schedules are widely accessible with over 200 rides per day.

  • Water conserving plumbing fixtures are installed including: 1.28 gallon per flush toilets, 0.125 gallon/flush urinals, 0.1 gallon per minute metered lavatories and low-flow showers and kitchen faucets. These fixture selections improve indoor water consumption by about 82,500 gallons per year, over 30 percent water use savings compared to a similar conventional building. That’s about the same volume of about six typical swimming pools!

  • Buildings are the single largest consumer of energy in the United States. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), building usage accounts for 50-75 percent of all electricity produced nationwide. Much of this energy is wasted due to inefficiencies and human behavior. Special attention to energy performance and was prioritized in the design strategies. The building was modeled to project energy performance based on the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 standard and is expected to be more than 28 percent in energy compared to a conventional building. The energy-efficient envelope, low-E windows, and LED lighting and controls, efficient HVAC system and building automation system all contributed to this performance.

  • In order to verify that the energy-efficient design met the owner’s project requirements and was effectively implemented, a third-party commissioning authority was engaged. The commissioning authority reviewed the design and coordinated systems installation and testing with the contractors, verified training of the building operators, and reviewed the systems 10 months after substantial completion.

  • Refrigerants used in the cooling and refrigeration systems are not CFC-based which negatively impact our ozone 

  • The quality of light exposure plays a significant role in sleep and overall health and wellbeing. All lighting features in the health center are LED fixtures, with dimmable controls to allow for adequate light levels in most locations. LED lighting is extremely efficient compared to incandescent and fluorescent, and doesn’t contain mercury, a toxin found in fluorescent lamps. This mercury reduction allowed the project to achieve an additional LEED point for Innovation in Design. There are also shading devices to allow for better comfort conditions.

  • Recycling bins are made available for paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum and plastic waste throughout the facility.

  • Materials and resources were tracked closely during design and construction. More than 50 percent of all construction waste was recycled rather than sent to the landfill. More than 10 percent of the materials used to construct the building contain recycled content and were manufactured within a 500-mile radius of the building. Recycled content and regionally sourced materials lessen the greenhouse gas emissions associated with manufacturing and transporting materials. Examples of materials that contain recycled content are steel, concrete, insulation, drywall, access flooring, carpet, acoustic ceiling, tile flooring, and countertops. Examples of regional materials include steel, brick, stone, insulation, aluminum, gypsum, roofing, and ceiling tiles. Approximately 70 percent of the wood on the project was FSC-certified from sustainably managed forests.

  • According to the EPA, people spend more than 90 percent of their time indoors, where contaminants can be up to 10 times higher than outdoors. We paid close attention to the quality of building materials to optimize the health of building occupants. Low-emitting paints, sealants, and flooring were used to protect the health and well-being of occupants from the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are typically found in these products, which negatively affect respiration. These products were carefully tracked for compliance with strict VOC limits. Interior finishes have been selected for their durability, but also healthy indoor air quality properties. The floor finishes are a mix of low-emitting carpeting and resilient flooring with ceramic tile in the restrooms. Resilient flooring was selected in many spaces for healthy cleaning purposes.

  • Air quality is a critical component to our health and the number one environmental cause of premature mortality. We’ve taken additional measures to improve the indoor air quality such as installing a dedicated outside air system with CO2 sensors to monitor the airflow in densely occupied spaces. Also, during construction indoor air quality management practices were implemented to minimize dust and protect against moisture. HVAC systems have MERV 13 filters which were replaced prior to occupancy. Green housekeeping practices help to further ensure the health of occupants long-term.

  • Occupant comfort was an important component of the design. Spaces were designed to optimize temperature and humidity, and over 70 percent of occupants can control the temperature in their spaces.