Campus Initiatives: Buildings: Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion

Dwight C. Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion provide state of the art facilities for the School of Communications to enable continued student success. Per the University’s Green Building Policy, the buildings were designed and constructed to be high performance sustainable buildings and received LEED Silver certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is an internationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.

Project Summary

Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion represent an expansion of the School of Communications’ facilities. Construction began in May 2015 and completed in October 2016 (Schar) and November 2016 (Steers). The two-story Dwight C. Schar Hall is 57,773 square feet and next to the 7,349 square-foot Steers Pavilion located in the Historic part of campus. 

Sustainable Sites

The facilities are located within walking distance of many commonly used buildings on campus, such as McEwen Dining Hall, Alamance Building and several residence halls, as well as businesses in downtown Elon. The project site was designed to provide green space and pedestrian walkways to encourage the use of outdoor space. A parking lot was actually removed to make way for the facilities. There are bike racks for students and others who get around campus via bike.


Water Efficiency

All of the plumbing fixtures in the buildings are low-flow, including the lavatory faucets. The toilets have dual-flush handles, and the urinals use only 1 pint of water per flush. These fixtures are expected to reduce potable water usage in the buildings by about 31%.   

The landscaping around the buildings is designed to minimize the need for irrigation. When it is needed, the automatic irrigation system is supplied with stormwater collected in the lakes located on campus, including Lake Mary Nell.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficient systems were integral in the design and construction of Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion. The buildings are about 32% more energy efficient than those that meet the standard building energy code. Among the energy efficiency strategies there are variable speed drives, energy recovery wheels, variable air volume air handling units, high efficiency condensing type boilers, dual level light switching and light occupancy sensors. The lighting itself is also energy efficient with most of the lights being LED. There is metering for water, natural gas and electricity, which allows for improved monitoring and tracking of consumption. This information is also viewable on the Building Dashboard.

Materials and Resources

During construction, 95% 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, 18% based on cost. Using recycled content reduces the need for virgin materials. Examples of products with recycled content include steel, concrete and wallboard.

To support the regional economy and reduce the impact of transportation, regional materials were used as much as possible. In the LEED system, regional materials are those that are extracted, harvested, recovered and manufactured within 500 miles of the project site. Based on cost, 25% of the building materials are regional. Examples of regional products include concrete, wallboard and some steel products.

The furniture used in the buildings have sustainable characteristics. Several pieces were manufactured in North Carolina, including lounge chairs, sofas and benches as well as conference room tables. The coffee tables in the Schar Hall atrium and main lobby were made in Burlington, North Carolina from the trees removed from the site prior to construction. The office furniture and classroom chairs contain recycled content and have sustainability-related certificates.    

As in all buildings at Elon, recycling containers are located throughout the buildings for paper products and plastic, glass and metals (e.g., aluminum beverage cans, steel food cans). Cardboard, small electronics and battery recycling is also available.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Providing excellent indoor environmental quality was another essential component in the design and construction of Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion. Great care was taken during construction to ensure the buildings and systems were kept clean and free of contaminants benefiting the construction workers and the eventual building occupants and users. For example, during construction duct work was kept covered to prevent debris from accumulating, and a special sweeping compound was used to minimize dust.

The adhesives, sealants, paints and carpets used in the buildings contain low amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Low VOC products allow for better air quality during and after construction. The entry way mats also help provide good indoor air quality be preventing dust and other contaminants on shoes from entering the buildings. Most full-time offices have a window. Studies have shown that natural light improves occupant well-being and productivity.  Several of the furniture pieces have earned sustainability-related designations, such as BIFMA’s level and SCS Indoor Advantage, which contribute to good indoor air quality. A green cleaning program is also used in the buildings, which benefits occupants and maintenance personnel. Green cleaning improves air quality, occupant health and well-being and is better for the environment. The program includes (but is not limited to) the use of third-party certified cleaning products that have low chemical content, bulk dispensing systems to reduce packaging waste, microfiber cloths to reduce use of disposables and vacuum cleaners with high-filtration systems to contain particulate matter.

Innovation and Design Process

This category within LEED recognizes exemplary performance and innovative strategies not covered in previous categories. The project earned exemplary performance for exceeding the open space threshhold in the related credit and achieving 95% construction waste diversion. Schar Hall and Steers Pavilion will be added to the online real-time electricity monitoring system (Building Dashboard). The following items will be monitored and displayed: electricity (total consumption and broken down by HVAC, lighting and plug loads), water and natural gas. The system will allow occupants as well as anyone else to view and track the utility consumption in the buildings. Providing this information is part of the educational program for these buildings as is this web site and providing tours. If you would like a tour focusing on the sustainable features of these buildings, please contact us.