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Passive solar strategies and an enhanced envelope are keys to achieving net-zero on the new 230,000 sf Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
“Approximately 80% of the windows are shaded by the south solar canopy or by terracotta baguettes,” says Coty Sandberg, architectural designer, SmithGroupJJR’s. These elements function to let in the sun during the winter, but protect from harsh summer rays. Additionally, most of the windows are on the south side of the building, resulting in optimal daylighting and reduced energy loads.
Seventy percent of the exterior is a terracotta rain screen system. The skin is extremely high-performing, Sandberg says. It has four inches of insulation to achieve an R30 thermal value. The building is projected to consume 8% less energy than the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline building. The $71 million structure is scheduled for completion in mid-2014.