As well as being an example of cooperation and collaboration between two institutions, the new RCC/SOU Higher Education Center is a model of environmental stewardship. The U.S. Green Building Council has notified Southern Oregon University and Rogue Community College that the Higher Education Center has been awarded its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification, the highest level of green building certification offered by the organization. The Higher Education Center is the first building in the Oregon University System to receive LEED Platinum Certification.
Green design features include use of regional and recycled content materials, FSC Certified wood from sustainably harvested local forests, on-site stormwater detention and drought tolerant landscaping. Special attention was given to acoustics and the quality of lighting, including daylighting and shading strategies. Innovative strategies include heat wheel energy transfer to pre-heat ventilation air, evaporative cooling, over 50% reduction in water use. Additionally, the RCC/SOU Advisory Committee that oversees development of the center is exploring the possibility of installing solar panels for long-term savings on heating and cooling bills.
- Total energy use is 37 percent better than Oregon Energy Code; resulting annual energy cost savings of approximately $37,330 (based on 2007 dollars).
- Annual domestic water use is 53 percent less than code.
- A heat pipe transfers energy from exhaust air to preheat and pre-cool air supplied to science labs.
- Heat wheels transfer energy from exhaust air to preheat and pre-cool air supplied to all other spaces.
- The large window to wall ratio allows using daylighting controls to significantly reduce lighting energy use.
- R-19 batt insulation was installed in steel framing cavities in addition to 2" rigid insulation.
- High efficiency condensing boilers and water heaters are used for heating and hot water.
- CO2 sensors control the building ventilation rate based on the number of people in the building.
- Occupancy sensors installed for lighting control are also used for room temperature setback and to shut off heating, ventilation and air conditioning to each unoccupied space.
- Occupancy sensors in labs are used to reduce the minimum outside air from 10 air changes per hour (ACH) when occupied to four ACH when unoccupied.
- Ultra-low-flow water delivery is the result of 1.8 gallon per minute showerheads; 0.5 gallon per-minute aerators on all lavatories; 0.5 gallon-per-flush urinals; dual-flush water closets with two flush options (0.8 gpf low-flush, 1.6 gpf high-flush) in all women's and unisex restrooms; and low-flow 2.2 gpm aerators on kitchen sink faucets. Overall water use is reduced by 20 percent.
- The project includes on-site storm water management, and water-efficient landscaping means outdoor water usage is reduced by 50 percent
- The building design reduces urban "heat island" effect.
- Materials were selected for recycled content and regional sourcing.
- Interiors designed to promote healthy indoor air quality.
- The building is near public transit, and showers are provided for bike commuters