The Desert Leaf December 2015 : Page 30

Plan of Action Photos: Bob Rogers Action in the Built Environment by Claire Rogers T ucson’s University of Arizona cam-pus makes for a fascinating walking tour, as it is a showcase of architectural styles. Its most recent addition affords an education to more than UA students. Completed over the summer of 2015 and dedicated on September 10, the Environment and Natural Resourc-es Phase 2 building (ENR2) is making news around Southern Arizona for its innovative planning and design. Located at 1064 E. Lowell St., on the southwest side of campus, the building first caught media attention when its construction was just being completed and a black-chinned hummingbird inad-vertently built a nest at a location con-ducive to hosting a webcam. Viewers from around the world watched a live Internet feed as two hatchlings grew and fledged. As a building grew around the tiny family, the building’s character developed a strong message reflecting environmentally sustainable values. A slot canyon, the man-made cen-terpiece of the building, is intimate, cool and evokes natural elements of wind and water. Planted with terraces of shade-tolerant flora, the area also provides a calming outdoor respite for faculty and students. The quiet des-ert air that wafts through the canyon increases in relative humidity owing to evapotranspiration by the nearby plants, which utilize rainwater captured and stored in an underground cistern. “There is definitely a cooling effect from the plants,” said Henry Johnstone, project principal with GLHN Architects and Engineers, a firm on the design team for the project. One of many UA alums working on the collaboration, Johnstone also pointed out that the balconies that line the slot canyon con-tribute to deep shade within the space while providing thermal mass that ab-sorbs heat during the day and releases it overnight. “We really are observing a stabiliz-ing effect on the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees in the balconies,” said John-stone, who periodically teaches com-putational fluid dynamics modeling to UA architecture students. He pointed Left, top to bottom: Undulating terraces of the ENR2 building offer sunny and shady options. ENR2’s ground-level plaza accommodates abundant movement as students walk to class. Timmerman Photography San Xavier Mission offers visitors a place to pray and meditate. The ENR2 building on the UA campus incorporates innovate design that is both seen and unseen. 30 DesertLeaf l December 2015

Plan Of Action

Claire Rogers

Action in the Built Environment

Tucson’s University of Arizona campus makes for a fascinating walking tour, as it is a showcase of architectural styles. Its most recent addition affords an education to more than UA students.

Completed over the summer of 2015 and dedicated on September 10, the Environment and Natural Resources Phase 2 building (ENR2) is making news around Southern Arizona for its innovative planning and design.

Located at 1064 E. Lowell St., on the southwest side of campus, the building first caught media attention when its construction was just being completed and a black-chinned hummingbird inadvertently built a nest at a location conducive to hosting a webcam. Viewers from around the world watched a live Internet feed as two hatchlings grew and fledged. As a building grew around the tiny family, the building’s character developed a strong message reflecting environmentally sustainable values.

A slot canyon, the man-made centerpiece of the building, is intimate, cool and evokes natural elements of wind and water. Planted with terraces of shade-tolerant flora, the area also provides a calming outdoor respite for faculty and students. The quiet desert air that wafts through the canyon increases in relative humidity owing to evapotranspiration by the nearby plants, which utilize rainwater captured and stored in an underground cistern.

“There is definitely a cooling effect from the plants,” said Henry Johnstone, project principal with GLHN Architects and Engineers, a firm on the design team for the project. One of many UA alums working on the collaboration, Johnstone also pointed out that the balconies that line the slot canyon contribute to deep shade within the space while providing thermal mass that absorbs heat during the day and releases it overnight.

“We really are observing a stabilizing effect on the temperature by 10 to 15 degrees in the balconies,” said Johnstone, who periodically teaches computational fluid dynamics modeling to UA architecture students. He pointed out that strategically placed fans help dissipate heat, as well.

The building conveys a message of sustainability throughout. It uses overhead induction coils known as “active” chilled beams, which, combined with a dedicated outdoor air system, contribute significantly to reduced power use for heating, air conditioning, and ventilation. Vacancy sensors determine the lighting and ventilation needs of individual spaces.

ENR2 is on track to become the fourth campus building to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum status— the highest level in sustainable design and construction—from the U.S. Green Building Council.

Energy use in the new building will be reduced by at least 30 percent through the use of both active and passive systems. The Energy Management and Control System will collect energy consumption data, according to May Carr, senior architect for UA Planning, Design and Construction. These data will then be compiled and summarized monthly for comparison with baseline models to determine efficiency and energy savings.

Innovative designs often require a learning curve at the human interface, and ENR2 is no different, according to Carr, an alumna of the architecture program at UA. New occupants need to learn how to optimize the building’s features.

“To assist them, we are putting together user guides,” said Carr. “One of the points made in the HVAC guide is that the systems used in the offices are much quieter than people may be used to in other facilities, so just because they can’t hear the systems doesn’t mean they are not working.”

Water saving is a high priority at ENR2, and the mechanisms are scalable to residential use, according to Johnstone. One example is the resourceful recapture of monsoon moisture that condenses on the air-conditioning coils. In residential units, this water often drips, wasted, to the ground, causing other problems for homeowners. Johnstone noted that the high-humidity months of July, August, and September contributed significant amounts of condensate to the underground storage tank at ENR2. The capacity of the cistern is the largest yet on campus, at 52,000 gallons.

The $75 million five-story building includes a 575-person auditorium, a 140-person classroom, research labs, graduate-student hubs, faculty offices, and the Slot Canyon Café.

Like many other campus facilities, ENR2 will encourage cross-discipline endeavors, by housing the Institute of the Environment, the School of Geography and Development, the School of Natural Resources and the Environment, and several faculty members from the mathematics department.

The new building, originally conceived in 2003, is designed to be flexible in accommodating innovations as they develop. The roof is built to support a future solar photovoltaic array based on the most current research. Rooftop real estate is also dedicated to space for the daily release of weather balloons, as well as a research garden.

For architects like Carr, ENR2 represents an inspirational model for good design and engineering, with the potential for similar applications throughout the community, the state, and the region.

Visitors are welcome to visit the new building and café. For an even more environmentally friendly tour, visit the building online at enr2tour.arizona. edu.

Claire Rogers is a local freelance writer. Comments for publication should be addressed to letters@desertleaf.com.

Read the full article at http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/article/Plan+Of+Action/2325210/281263/article.html.

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