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Going Green Part of Recycling, Renovation, Campus Construction

Going green is a theme in a variety of ongoing construction, renovation and recycling projects that will greet UC students coming to campus this fall.

Date: 9/10/2010 12:00:00 AM
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Dottie Stover

UC ingot   Architectural acclaim is nothing new for the University of Cincinnati, which was recently named one of the world’s most beautiful college campuses by Forbes magazine in recognition of its “wholly renovated campus.”

The same can be said for UC’s sustainability efforts. Just this past spring, UC was named the only public university in Ohio and the only school in the region on The Princeton Review’s national list of schools leading in environmental practices and in preparing the next generation of green professionals.

Thus, it’s only fitting that the ongoing construction and renovation projects on UC’s campus this fall integrate design with sustainability. These projects include

All eight residence halls on campus will have recycling bins placed on each residential floor, along with larger bins placed outside each residence hall – Calhoun, Dabney, Daniels, Siddall, Stratford Heights, Schneider, Turner and the Campus Recreation Center housing. In all, UC will have in place 400 recycling bins (50 per hall) inside these residence halls and a total of seven large, mixed-use bins, each six-feet long,  outside the halls.
Emma Brown
UC student Emma Brown and one of the recycling containers within Calhoun Hall.

Until now, UC has had recycling pilot programs in Calhoun and Daniels residence halls, testing the use of the recycling bins on each floor, accompanied by large recycling bins outside of the halls. In addition, previous recycling efforts in the residence halls have resulted in competitions between the halls to see which could save the most energy and water and recycle the most materials. Those previous competitions resulted in about 11 tons of recycled materials each year.

A four-million-gallon thermal-energy storage tank, measuring about 160 feet long, will be placed about 30 feet below the new Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex half field. It will chill water via electricity at night, when unit costs for electricity are less expensive, for reuse in the heat of the day when the chilled water provides cooling for campus buildings. The project – to cost about $5 million – will save the university between $400,000 to $500,000 per year, to then be used to recoup project costs, while also reducing peak electric demand by about 4,500 kiloWatts (kW).

According to Barrett Bamberger, project manager, the Jefferson Avenue Sports Complex project will be completed in stages. The full field was first used for practice by the Bearcats on Monday, Aug. 30. The half field will be complete in December 2010, and other elements like restrooms, concession and viewing tower in late Fall 2011.

Ongoing or upcoming building upgrades are focused on necessary updating to the oldest, most strategic basic-science education and research facilities in order to meet current and future academic priorities while also meeting energy and environmental goals. The effort to modernize UC’s science and research labs was boosted by an $8.5 million grant from the National Center for Research Resources announced in March 2010.

 Ongoing renovation projects on the UC campus include

  • Renovations within Rieveschl Hall’s 400- , 500-, 600- and 700-level labs, dating back to the 1970s, have been underway for more than a year. Already complete as part of this project is the renovation of the organic chemistry labs. Biology labs will next be renovated, and those lab renovations will be complete next year. Renovations consist of ventilation-system upgrades as well as mechanical, electrical, plumbing, lighting and lab utilities are part of the overall renovation to be complete in 2011. These systems will reduce energy use by up to 70 percent, saving up to $500,000 annually.
  • Structural repairs to the 90-year-old Old Chemistry Building will be complete by the start of classes. The north-facing brick wall of the building, a load-bearing wall, evidenced movement late last summer, due to water damage from decades of Cincinnati weather. Completion of repairs will reopen one auditorium and 24 offices.
  • Renovations will begin in winter quarter to facilities on the 8th and 9th floors of Rhodes Hall in order to create an engineering learning center and upgrade lab space.
  • Two new classrooms were created when Zimmer Hall auditorium was renovated in 2007. The classrooms are now being completed with audiovisual equipment and will each seat 40.
  • Façade repairs to Crosley Tower are ongoing and will be complete by the end of 2010.