Drexel University has become the first university in the country to commit to using Green Globes, the Green Building Initiative’s independent environmental impact monitoring system, comprehensively through university policy, for all new construction and existing campus buildings. (Read BD+C's story on the rebirth of Drexel University.)
“I announced last fall that Drexel University is committed to being a leader in the sustainability effort,” University President Dr. Constantine Papadakis said. “We have a significant amount of new construction under way on campus, and there is no better time than now to make sure we reach our sustainability goals.”
“Green Globes software will be used to measure the operations of all five of our new construction projects, currently underway,” said James Tucker, senior vice president for student life and administrative services who is responsible for the University’s infrastructure. “These five projects alone total $164.4 million over the next three years, we have a total of $85.6 million in capital projects already planned, and Green Globes will be applied to all of them.”
“The GBI is proud to assist Drexel University with this unique and groundbreaking project,” said Ward Hubbell, president of the Green Building Initiative. “Assessing the environmental integrity of all their buildings will not only help the University benchmark and improve upon their energy and environmental performance, but it will inspire others to do the same.”
Currently under construction on Drexel’s 84-acre West Philadelphia campus are an 84,000-square-foot recreation center, a 17-story residence hall, a 130,000-square-foot Integrated Sciences Building, and a 5,000 square foot Dining Terrace and Food Court. The University also has a three-story wing under construction at the Drexel University College of Medicine’s Queen Lane campus.
Drexel’s five new construction projects are registered with the Green Globes system and are being assessed for energy efficiency and effects on the environment. The third-party independent assessment process will be completed one year after occupancy, and will result in a ranking based on Green Globes metrics. Demonstrating its commitment to transparency, the results of all assessments will be posted on the website of Drexel’s sustainability program, “Drexel Green,” and available to the public for inspection.
In addition to new construction, the University is working with the GBI to include all existing buildings in the monitoring system.
Green Globes offers an industry standard assessment of construction projects to ensure that they are following environmental best practices. The system will monitor key areas of design, construction and operation, including energy, water, resources, emissions and indoor environment.
“Putting this information online demonstrates our commitment to transparency and accountability,” said President Papadakis. “It will help educate, promote discussion, and foster research, supporting the core missions of our university.”
In addition to adopting the Green Globes monitoring system as a formal policy of the University, Drexel has integrated environmentally-friendly design into all of its latest construction projects. The new residence hall will install a “vegetated” roof to reduce heat absorption, help manage storm water as well as insulate the building. The design of the recreation center includes rooftop light scopes to allow enough natural light in that will result in an 87 percent reduction of electric light during the day. The Integrated Sciences Building will feature a living biofilter, known as a “Bio Wall”, for energy efficiency and improved air quality. A new addition to the academic building on the Queen Lane Medical Campus will include a green roof. Even the smallest of current projects such as the new Dining Terrace will include shade devices that eliminate heat gain and reduce energy consumption.