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LINK Connector Sustainable Design

Kath Tibbetts Fall 2013

Why has Ithaca College chosen to build “green buildings”?

In 2008, our President’s Council approved this amendment to Ithaca College’s Comprehensive Environmental Policy:

All new facilities and major renovations shall incorporate sustainable practices to the degree feasible and shall strive, at a minimum, to meet the equivalent of a LEED™ Silver rating in their design. Project management teams are encouraged to meet higher LEED™ rating levels whenever possible.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) voluntary system for creating high-performance, sustainably designed buildings guides architects decisions reducing the impact of a building on natural systems. Sustainable Sites planning involves channeling development to urban areas with existing infrastructure, in order to protect greenfields and open space, preserve habitat and natural resources, and promote biodiversity. Negative impacts from automobile use are reduced by developing near rail and transit lines, providing support for walking and bicycle commuting, and offering preferred parking for fuel-efficient vehicles and carpools. Natural water hydrology disruption is limited by reducing impervious cover, increasing on-site infiltration, reducing or eliminating pollution from stormwater runoff, and eliminating contaminants. The “heat island” effect that can be created by dark hardscaping and roofing is minimized. Steps are taken to minimize light pollution and improve nighttime visibility. Water Management limits or eliminates the use of potable water for landscape irrigation. Strategies are employed to reduce generation of wastewater and potable water demand, while increasing the local aquifer recharge. Water efficiency is maximized within buildings to reduce the burden on municipal water supply and wastewater systems. Energy Management verifies that the building’s energy related systems perform optimally and continue to perform well over time. Steps are taken to achieve high levels of energy performance to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with excessive energy use. Integration of on-site renewable energy generation is encouraged as is the use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies.

Material Use helps reduces the amount of landfill waste generated by building occupants. Construction, demolition and land-clearing debris is diverted from landfills disposal. Recyclable resources are recovered and redirected back to the manufacturing process or reused appropriately in order to reduce demand for virgin materials. Preference is given for building materials that are extracted and manufactured regionally and wood products sourced from responsibly managed forests. Use of rapidly renewable materials minimizes depletion of finite raw materials. Indoor Environmental Air Quality contributes to the comfort and well-being of the occupants by providing good ventilation systems and allowing for access to fresh air. Steps are taken to reduce exposure to indoor air contaminants, hazardous particulates and chemical pollutants that are odorous, irritating and/or harmful. High levels of control for lighting and thermal comfort systems are provided to building occupants. Building designs provide for occupants to feel connected to the outdoors through the introduction of daylight and views. The Bottom Line: “High-performance sustainable design” - creating a “green building” - improves the working and living conditions of the occupants of a building, leads to better learning outcomes for students and greater productivity and employee satisfaction. Becoming more efficient with our use of energy and water saves Ithaca College significantly on annual utility costs. These decisions create a far more comfortable building to be in - one that saves us money to operate. As one construction foremen on our first LEED™ project remarked, “Why wouldn’t you build all buildings this way? It just makes sense.” Welcome to Ithaca College. We hope you enjoy your campus experience and the opportunity to learn more about this “green building.” Marian Brown Special Assistant for Campus and Community Sustainability

LINK Connector At a Glance

LEED Gold Certified in 2010 Houses


32-seat multi-purpose classrooms

Serves as an

Interior Walkway

bridging Job Hall and Dillingham Hall

Facility spans

8,400 sq ft

16% of the building materials was manufactured using recycled materials. 25% of the building materials have been extracted, harvested, recovered, or manufactured within 500 miles of the project site.

Sustainability Facts & Figures

42% better heating performance due to the geothermal-distributed heat pump conditioning system 53% of the non-roof impervious surfaces onsite have been paved with highly reflective materials or will be shaded within 5 years

90% (393 tons) of on-site generated construction waste was diverted from landfill

94% of total wood-based materials are harvested from FSC certified forests. FSC is an independent, non-profit organization that protects forests for future generations. According to the definition from the U.S. Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program that provides a third-
party verification of green buildings. This means that the building is environmentally friendly and human friendly. To gain LEED certification, a project must satisfy all LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum of 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale.


LINK Connector Design Features

• Geothermal heat pumps • High efficiency windows • Shading devices • Reduced interior lighting power • Occupancy sensors • Daylighting controls • Skylighted alcove

Construction Constructing the LINK The construction of the Link Connector began with planning in 2006, and the project was completed in 2009. The Link Connector was designed and built in conjunction with the Peggy Ryan Williams Center, as a solution to the need for interior cooridor access to the new building.

Facts & Figures

Materials Used in the LINK The LINK received a Silver Award for Excellence in Concrete Design in Installation from the American Concrete Institute. The building is constructed of board-formed concrete, with rooftop terraces covered with precast pavers and areas of vegetation. The new exterior stair is granite, with glass and stainless steel railings. The north walls of the classrooms are full glass. Use of light maple wood trim, soft green tack and acoustical fabrics were selected to take the fullest advantage of natural light and provide a calming and tranquil ambience. Much attention was paid to the selection of local, recycled, and low VOC materials in design.

Design: Reasoning The LINK classrooms were designed to create inviting and calming environments for learning. The north wall (window wall) was designed to maximize the collection of natural light without ever allowing penetration of direct sunlight. This is
a very efficient and natual way to introduce light without the energy consumption that electricity elicits. And the interior walls are painted light and natural colors to make the space look larger and more importantly, help reduce electricity consumption in the daytime.


Contact Information Marian Brown Special Assistant for Campus and Community Sustainability 125 Administration Annex Ithaca, NY 14850 P: 607.274.3787

Ithaca College Informational Booklet: LINK Connector Sustainability  

Ithaca College's Office of Sustainability consulted my visual design course for development of print collateral about the various sustainabl...

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