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Lawrence Tech student center wins LEED silver certification

Release Date: April 16, 2008

Southfield, Mich. The A. Alfred Taubman Student Services Center at Lawrence Technological University has earned the coveted silver certification through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System.

The LEED rating system established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has become the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high- performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Lawrence Tech alumnus Arthur Smith of Harley Ellis Devereaux in Southfield was the lead architect. Walbridge Aldinger Company of Detroit was the general contractor.

Major green features of the building include:

  • A field of 88 geothermal wells sunk 300 feet through five geological layers heats and cools the Taubman Center, which has no boiler, furnace, or even a gas meter. The heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems contain no CFC-based refrigerants, HCFCs or halons.
  • The low-e glass skin is oriented to promote natural lighting and is designed to reduce heat loss and maximize daylight.
  • A 10,000-square-foot green roof reduces runoff and associated pollutants, offers more effective insulation than traditional roofs, and expands and contracts with seasonal changes. It is expected to last about 40 years, more than twice the lifespan of traditional materials.
  • A system of weirs, tile fields and long-rooted grasses and trees prevents 60 percent of the rainwater that falls on the adjacent campus quadrangle from running into the Rouge River. This bioswale of vegetation naturally purifies the water by filtering out pollutants commonly found in snow and rain.
  • Lighting is controlled by sensors and astronomically synchronized timers that adjust three times a day to accommodate seasonal lighting needs.

In addition, the Taubman Center was designed as a “living laboratory” of sustainable design and engineering, according to Joseph Veryser, Lawrence Tech’s university architect and associate dean of the College of Architecture and Design.

The building’s many sustainable design components create a “perpetual field trip” that provides students an up-close view of real-world applications of sustainable design and engineering. Many of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning controls and mechanisms are visible for study by students. The concrete flooring tiles throughout the building are elevated 18 inches, making all wiring and piping easily accessible by lifting panels of the completely modular floor.

“Lawrence Tech students also learn from conducting tests and collecting data to determine the tangible results of sustainable design,” Veryser said.

Lawrence Technological University,, offers more than 60 undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs in Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management. Founded in 1932, the 4,500-student, private university pioneered evening classes 75 years ago, and today has a growing number of weekend and online programs. Lawrence Tech’s 102-acre campus is in Southfield, with education centers in Lansing, Livonia, Clinton Township, Traverse City and Petoskey. Lawrence Tech also offers programs with partner universities in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.