Northern Arizona University’s Applied Research & Development Facility received the US Green Building Council’s top Platinum rating for sustainability and is among the most sustainable buildings ever rated under LEED®.
Arup’s work as structural and building services engineer and sustainability consultant for the project demonstrates the technical sophistication and broad scope of the firm’s work for education institutions around the world.
Sustainable climate control
In an arid desert climate at an altitude of 7,000ft, the ARD building is subject to a wide temperature range that typically means a significant energy requirement for regulating interior environments. Designers oriented the building’s long, thin, arcing frame to the south, capturing the sun’s heat in winter while maximising daylight and minimising electric lighting needs. Automated shade controls prevent excessive solar gain.
A concrete structural frame stores heat in winter and stays cool in summer, reducing heating and air conditioning needs. Photovoltaic panels produce more than 20% of the building’s electricity.
Triple-glazed windows on the building’s north side minimise energy loss, reclaimed water is used to flush toilets and irrigate landscaping and pervious concrete in the parking areas allows stormwater to drain, recharging groundwater supplies.