University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
The Electrical and Computer Engineering Building has received LEED Platinum certification.

Computer engineering building at University of Illinois gets LEED Platinum

Dec. 18, 2019
The $95 million Electrical & Computer Engineering Building on the Urbana-Champaign campus is designed to be a net-zero-energy facility.

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Building (ECE) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has been awarded LEED Platinum certification.

The university says in a news release that the facility received the highest LEED rating from the U.S. Green Building Council for incorporating strategies and solutions aimed at achieving high performance in sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, sustainable construction and waste management, and indoor environmental quality.

The $95 million, 230,000-square-foot facility opened in 2014

The building is designed to be one of the largest net-zero energy buildings of its kind in the nation and includes numerous features to help meet that goal.

One example is a rooftop solar panel installation, which generates renewable electricity for the building and contributes to the campus-wide power grid.  The rest of the energy needed to achieve net-zero performance comes from campus solar farms.

Active displays will soon be set up in the building’s atrium to show energy usage and power flows. On sunny days, passersby may be able to watch the building’s net-energy use drop close to zero.

Another environmentally friendly feature of the facility is the stormwater storage system, which ensures that water runoff from the building is slowed to the speed of the original green field.

The ECE Building is meant to be a living laboratory, enabling students and faculty members to research its sustainable features. It’s also meant to be a model for low energy design in the Midwest, proving you don’t have to live in a tropical climate to produce more energy than you consume within a building.

The building also features several passive heating and cooling features, including a terra-cotta exterior and sun shades. A chilled-beam heating and cooling system is also highly energy-efficient.

The architect is SmithGroup.

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