Energy management in new facilities

University of Baltimore plans for savings, builds for aesthetics

The University of Baltimore set clear sustainability goals when it began planning its new law school building.

“It had to be [LEED] Platinum, but it also had to be an environment that would be exciting for staff and students to spend days and late nights studying in,” says Nebeye Sertsu, vice president for facilities management and capital planning. “We embedded in the design how we interact with students, how we represent the city and how we talk about our campus to prospective students.”

The university tapped architectural firm Behnisch Architekten of Boston to create the 12-story John and Frances Angelos Law Center. Partner Robert Matthew Noblett and his team created a thermal active slab system, with the entire structure built out of concrete slabs.

“We heat and cool through tubing that pumps cool or heated water through slabs, which creates a radiant effect from the structure. There is no traditional AC in the building,” he says. The slabs also contain the building’s electrical wiring.

Other sustainability features include:

  • An atrium feature that emits white noise in the center of the building while creating a local cooling microclimate with mist.
  • A rainwater harvesting system that captures and repurposes runoff and reduces overall water use.
  • A green roof, terraces and a sunken garden incorporating native and adapted plants.
  • Automated windows in offices, classrooms and open spaces maximize the flow of clean air, reducing heating or cooling during high-use periods in good weather. – Lights that automatically shut off after business hours.

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