nathistorybldg University of Illinois
The Natural History Building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign underwent a $79 million renovation.

Renovation of natural history building at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receives LEED Gold

The building is the 16th on the Urbana campus to received LEED certification.

After a $79 million renovation, the Natural History Building on the campus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has received LEED Gold certification for its environmentally friendly design and construction.

The university says in a news release that the building, constructed in 1892, reopened in 2017 after a three-year renovation that added classrooms, laboratories, and study spaces.

Campus officials directed a significant amount of planning and design efforts toward a goal of attaining gold certification, thereby creating more healthful and sustainable spaces to benefit students, faculty, and staff.

More than 76 percent of the construction waste generated by the renovation was recycled. A large amount of the material removed from the building was reused.

Rapidly renewable materials, such as bamboo flooring, were used. The project also incorporated water-efficient landscaping, energy-efficient heating and air conditioning, high levels of daylight, occupancy sensors, and continual energy monitoring.

“Energy efficiency was one of our primary concerns in renovating the Natural History Building,” says Feng Sheng Hu, the Harry E. Preble Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “We are pleased that the U.S. Green Building Council granted us gold certification. In every step of the process, we modernized and expanded the capabilities of this critical building in a sustainable manner.”

The renovation has enabled the building to reduce its water usage by at least 20 percent. The project also received high marks for using an existing site, having great access to public transportation, and incorporating bicycle parking.

The Natural History Building houses the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, including the departments of Atmospheric Sciences, Geography and Geographic Information Science, and Geology. It also houses teaching programs for the School of Integrative Biology, which includes the departments of Animal Biology, Entomology, and Plant Biology, and the Integrative Biology Honors Program.

With the addition of the Natural History Building, the Urbana campus now has LEED-certified facilities. 

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