University of North Florida Social Sciences Building, Jacksonville, FL
Resource Stewardship in Use: energy efficiency, white cement to reduce heat island effect
The University of North Florida (UNF) is set in a nature preserve, and administrators felt that the new Social Sciences building should blend with its green environment while also being sustainable. The building is three stories tall, and is 70,600 ft2 (6600 m2). The building has many environmentally friendly features, including waterless urinals, an emphasis on natural light, energy-efficient heating and mechanical systems, and an irrigation system that uses recycled water.
Designers chose a precast concrete insulated sandwich-panel wall system for the exterior, providing an increased R-value, elimination of thermal breaks, and enhanced energy efficiency. The walls were made with colored, sandblasted concrete as well as intricate form liners and thin brick. The thin brick was only 1/2 in. (12.5 mm) thick rather than the standard full depth brick of 3-5/8 in. (92 mm), which saved on raw materials, brick firing costs, and fewer truck loads to move the brick material. The form liners’ thin brick was made of 100% post-industrial recycled content. The insulation (XPS) in the sandwich panels contained up to 40% post-industrial recycled content, and scrap materials were taken to a polystyrene recycling center for use in other products. Waste concrete from the precaster was crushed and used as road fill.
Site disturbance was minimized with the use of crawler cranes for panel erection that were kept within 30 ft (9.1 m) of the project perimeter. The heat island effect was counteracted with the use of white-cement concrete at the faces of the wall panels.
School administrators were so pleased with the outcome that they intend to follow similar sustainable construction methods in the future. The building uses 20% less energy than the baseline requirements of ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2007 (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers 2007) and is 30% more efficient than required by code, resulting in $28,210 in annual energy savings.
University of North Florida Social Sciences Building. Photo courtesy of Architectural Precast Association