Case Study Sheds Light on Sustainable U of I Engineering Building

August 18, 2017 Neil Egan

One of the nation’s top engineering programs likes to practice what it preaches.

The University of Illinois College of Engineering is certainly pushing the boundaries of sustainability through the innovative design of its 230,000-square-foot Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) building, which opened in 2014 and expects both a USGBC LEED Platinum rating and EPA ENERGY STAR® rating of 99.

Not only did the building win a prestigious Laboratory of the Year award, but it’s on track to be one of the world’s largest net zero energy-designed buildings. That means it will ultimately produce enough renewable energy to meet its annual energy consumption requirements.

We’re proud that products from two of our energy-efficient LED lighting brands – Indy™ and Juno® -- are playing a major role in an integrated effort to optimize the building’s energy use. LED just makes sense, especially at U of I -- the first visible LED was invented by an ECE graduate and long-time professor, Nick Holonyak, Jr.

As detailed in our case study, approximately 1,690 Acuity Brands luminaires are installed throughout the building. About 880 are Indy PPXS Series LED pan-style luminaires, for classroom and laboratory lighting; about 780 are Indy Designer Series recessed LED downlight and wall-wash luminaires, for corridor, auditorium and perimeter lighting; and roughly 30 are Trac-Master® Cylindra™ LED track heads.

The use of LEDs was an extremely important component of the building’s energy-efficient design, which was fueled by the ECE department’s commitment to sustainable energy and renewables.

And they are definitely getting the job done, despite the building’s location in an “all-in” climate with dramatic and frequent swings in weather conditions. Working in concert with other energy reduction strategies – such as an extensive network of solar panels, daylighting harvesting, an insulating terra cotta exterior, advanced heating and cooling systems, and lighting controls -- our Acuity luminaires are contributing to a 46 percent reduction in energy. And, the ECE building uses 50 percent less energy than the minimum building energy efficiency standards established in ASHRAE 90.1-2007.

With Acuity’s help, the ECE building is truly delivering on its promise of extending the mission of the programs housed there, as ECE Department Head William H Sanders noted when the $95 million building was dedicated in October 2014:

“(The building) reflects upon our values, from its emphasis on hands-on learning and collaboration, to its goal of net-zero energy,” Sanders said. “It will allow us to offer our students and faculty unparalleled opportunities for the future.”

For more information on our LED solutions for higher education, click here.

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