Sustainable Design

We design buildings and manage construction projects that help the University achieve our Sustainability Plan goals. Here's how we do it:

Electricity

Daylight Harvesting

Locating buildings and offices with ample access to daylight, such as using glazed interior partition walls in the Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, saves energy. Similar to opening your blinds at home, we engineer our spaces and lighting controls to take advantage of free sunshine.

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Kitchen Sink Area
Energy STAR appliances

Operating appliances, think refrigerators running 24 hours a day, costs money and requires a great deal of electricity. Choosing energy efficient Energy Star appliances for all our projects across campus helps us save on both.

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parksmart logo
ParkSmart certification
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Photovoltaic Panels - Frick Chemistry laboratory
Photovoltaic solar panels

Solar panels of course generate electricity, and when strategically placed, solar panels can also help divert hot sun away from a buildings interior. The photovoltaic solar panels placed above the glass roof of our new Frick Chemistry building serve double-duty by generating a limited amount of electricity as well as providing shading for the atrium.

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Heating and cooling

Frick Chemistry Laboratory

Frick Chemistry Laboratory Under Construction - Demonstration :lAborator - June 2010

Cascading airflow from office areas to laboratory

Flowing already cooled air into laboratory spaces minimizes air conditioning of outside air. Lab spaces need a constant source of fresh air, yet not at the same temperature comfort as building occupants.

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geoexchange illustration
Geo-exchange Heating and Cooling

Geoexchange energy is the heat from the earth; it is clean, reliable, sustainable, and cost effective. By tapping into the consistent 50 to 60 degrees below ground, a geoexchange system will bring earth’s heat up in the winter and cool hot air in the summer. If interested in reducing your utility bills by 40-60%, you too could try this at home. Princeton is converting to a district hot water system to replace our existing 100-year-old campus wide district steam system. The current system uses non-renewable technology and conventional equipment which burns fossil fuels to produce heat. This campus conversion will be achieved by drilling over a 1,000 geo-exchange bores, installed 600 – 850’ below ground; installing over 13 miles of distribution piping; building new plants and upgrading existing plants and converting our existing building systems. The geo-exchange bores form a closed-loop system which acts as a thermal “piggybank” below the ground. Heat-pumps are used to retrieve this thermal energy, heat or cool it and pump it out to our campus. Converting our campus to geo-exchange technology is a major component of becoming Net Zero by 2046 (300th Anniversary).

 

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Butler green roof
Green roof

Turning the roof of a building into a living, green area leads to many sustainable benefits. With greater insulation, we save energy. With more living plants, we decrease stormwater run off and improve air quality. And by installing green roofs, we use our Campus as a Living Lab to educate and inform our students.

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Heat Recovery Air Handlers
Heat recovery systems for air handling units

Provides fresh air and improved climate control, saves energy by reducing heating and cooling

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Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment Rendering
High performance exteriors

Keeping a building’s indoor climate well maintained is a science, a building science. Of course a building’s outer shell needs to maintain a dry, heated/cooled and well-ventilated interior environment. We then need to include heavy insulation and sun shading to obtain a high performance exterior. For example, the exterior glass of Sherrerd Hall provides shading from the sun with fins embedded inside the glass. Look closely and you may just see them. 

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Passive House logo
Passive House Energy Conservation

Utilizing superinsulation, airtight envelopes, energy recovery ventilation, high performance windows, and managing solar gain to maximize energy efficiency.

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thermostat
Radiant panel heating system

Radiant panel heating system in office spaces for energy conservation.

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Utilities converted from steam to hot water
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Siting, landscape & materials

Complete Streets design
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Heavy timber carbon offset
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Integrate existing woodlands
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Low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint
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Arts and Transit Site Model
Multimodal transit at the new Dinky Station

The new transit plaza blends a variety of options to get to and from campus, including bike racks and rentals, car permit and metered parking, pedestrian paths, buses, and of course trains. 

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Native, adaptive, low-maintenance trees and plantings
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People-oriented outdoor spaces
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Reinforce campus pedestrian and bicycle paths
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Shower
Shower facilities for bicycle commuters

We are proud to say we have at least four bike commuters amoung our Facilities staff. To encourage even more cyclists, more buildings on campus are being built with shower facilities.

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Site lighting that protects the night sky
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Walkable and bikeable campus
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Water

Chiller Plant water re-use
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Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment Rendering
Condensate re-use

Putting that annoying drip from air conditioners to good use reduces our demand for municipal water. When collected 24 hours a day/7 days a week, the water produced from the cooling and dehumidifying the air can add up to huge environmental savings. 

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Native, drought-tolerant plants
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No permanent irrigation
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rain garden
Rainwater harvesting

Similar to a rain barrel some of us have at home, only on a much larger scale, we capture rainwater and re-use it for plumbing, landscaping, etc. In the Frick Chemistry building we combine rainwater with condensate, color it blue and use it to flush ALL the toilets. We will also divert rain water recovered from our Arts project to use in our energy plant cooling towers. Oh, and rain water is free.

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storm water management landscaping
Stormwater management using green infrastructure

Designing a sustainable campus means looking at space outside our buildings as well. Low impact development considers techniques such as strategic site design, reducing stormwater run-off and functional landscaping. Various systems on campus relocate water run-off into perforated pipes that allow water into the soil and into rain garden planting areas instead of storm drains. Rain gardens both retain and filter stormwater, providing benefits to the local watershed and stream systems by encouraging stormwater infiltration and reducing erosion. We also have green roofs and planted areas over structures that filter the water and contribute to our goal of reducing campus stormwater run-off 'down the hill' into the lake.

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