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Campus Initiatives: Buildings: Alumni Field House

Alumni Field House was designed and constructed with sustainability in mind. It is the second building on campus to achieve a LEED Gold certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Project Summary

The Alumni Field House, named to honor all Elon alumni, is a new athletic facility. It provides an athletic training facility, meeting area and study space for Elon athletes. In addition, the facility includes offices for the athletic director, coaches and other staff. The 30,000 square foot facility is located to the north of Rhodes Stadium. Construction began November 2009 and finished January 2011.

Click here for the Alumni Field House LEED Checklist identifying the LEED credits achieved.

Sustainable Sites

The facility provides bike racks, changing rooms and showers to encourage staff and athletes to bike to the Field House and around campus. The parking lot also includes spaces designated for low-emitting fuel-efficient vehicles.  

Areas of impervious surfaces were minimized in order to reduce stormwater runoff. This provided substantial open space; the amount of vegetated open space is more than four times the building’s footprint. To decrease mobility of heavy metals, chemicals and other pollutants undesirable in stormwater, bioretention stations were installed at high infiltration areas. These bioretention stations treat 90% of annual rainfall.

Roofing materials with a high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) were also used, which reduces the heat island effect. Reducing the amount of heat absorbed from the sun also helps reduce the building’s energy consumption.

Water Efficiency

Inside the building, low-flow plumbing fixtures reduce potable water consumption by 40%. Fixtures include dual-flush toilets, giving users the choice to use the appropriate amount of water with an upward or downward flush. Also installed were pint flush urinals, low-flow lavatory faucets and low-flow shower heads.

Outside of the facility, installation of climate adaptive vegetation as well as use of a drip irrigation system reduces water use for irrigation. In addition, the water that is used for irrigation is not potable water; it comes from the campus-wide stormwater irrigation system.

Energy Efficiency

Alumni Field House is 37% more energy efficient than a building that meets the standard energy code. The facility has added layers of insulation to improve the thermal envelope. The windows use highly efficient SunGuard glaze, which are also Energy Star. This acts as a passive solar mechanism reducing heat loss and gain. 

The building features an energy efficient mechanical system with an energy recovery ventilation (ERV) wheel. It is controlled by a web-enabled energy management system. The facility also has occupancy sensors for lighting, and occupants have the ability to adjust light levels as needed. There is metering for water, natural gas and electricity, which allows for improved monitoring and tracking of consumption. Electricity usage is available through the Building Dashboard. One can view and compare total use vs. lighting use, plug use and HVAC use.

Materials and Resources

 During construction, 90% of the waste was recycled or reused, which kept it out of the landfill.

In addition, building materials with recycled content (pre and post consumer) were used, 29% based on cost. As defined in LEED, post-consumer material is product at its “end-use [where it] can no longer be used for its intended purpose" (LEED 2.2, 2005). Pre-consumer material is defined as “material diverted from the waste stream during the manufacturing process" (LEED 2.2, 2005). Both of these concepts limit the use and production of virgin materials. Successful construction planning enabled regional materials to be used, over 40% based on cost. This means the products were “extracted, harvested, recovered [and] manufactured” within 500 miles of the project site. The structural steel, drywall and ceiling tiles are examples of both recycled and regional materials used in the construction of the Alumni Field House.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Remember that ‘new’ house or ‘new’ car smell? While it smells ‘new,’ it turns out that the smell is the result of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) released by adhesives, sealants and primers and chemicals that are not good to breathe. In the Field House materials with low or no amounts of VOCs (low-emitting materials) were used. Specific examples of low-emitting materials used include indoor carpet adhesive, sealants and paints.

Great care was taken during construction to ensure the building and its systems were kept clean and free of contaminants benefiting the construction workers and the eventual building occupants and users. The ductwork was kept covered to prevent debris from accumulating, and a special sweeping compound was used to minimize dust.

Several of the furniture pieces in the Field House are GREENGUARD certified meaning they have been tested by a third party and verified to contain low amounts of chemicals and particle emissions and have met acceptable indoor air quality guidelines and standards. GREENGUARD certification is a voluntary program used primarily by commercial/institutional furniture manufactures. Many furniture items also contain recycled content.

As previously mentioned, lighting levels can be adjusted as necessary to suit occupant needs limiting energy consumption and increasing occupant comfort. The cooling and heating systems were designed specifically to meet the building and occupants' thermal comfort needs. Thermostats are available so occupants can adjust them as needed, and carbon dioxide sensors monitor levels and maintain appropriate ventilation.

Innovation and Design Process

This category recognizes exceptional performance and innovative strategies not covered in previous categories. As explained in the Sustainable Sites category, the open space requirement was surpassed by more than four times. Providing vegetated open space reduces the heat island effect around the building and decreases stormwater runoff. The low-flow plumbing fixtures installed allowing for a 40% reduction in indoor water use also earned recognition in this category.

The University’s green cleaning program is being utilized in the Field House and was also recognized. Green cleaning improves indoor environmental quality for all occupants. It limits the amount of chemicals that affect human health and those that are released back into our waterways and environment.

If you would like a tour focusing on the sustainable features of the Alumni Field House, please contact us.