The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) Building at the University of Illinois Urbana – Champaign (UIUC) received a 2017 Education Facility Design Award of Merit from The American Institute of Architects (AIA). IMEG provided engineering design and services for the innovative $75 million, 230,000-square-foot building, the first on the campus and among the first in the state to pursue a “net zero ready” design approach.
IMEG worked with SmithGroup JJR architects and UIUC to minimize the facility’s carbon footprint and optimize energy efficiency, performing numerous energy simulations and life-cycle cost analyses to evaluate and select various energy-saving technologies. The building is modeled to reduce energy consumption by 50 percent and is capable of eventually reaching a net-zero energy rating, a rare achievement for laboratories of this size and energy use.
The new facility houses more than 20 labs, including space for nanofabrication, optics, control, and robotics. An Open Projects Lab provides state-of-the-art equipment for students to use outside of class projects, creating a unique maker space for students to experiment. The “living laboratory” building eventually will receive electricity from solar arrays on the roof and on a nearby parking structure, with access for students and faculty to research the solar panels. Passive heating and cooling features, including the terra cotta exterior and sun shades, and chilled-beam heating and cooling, make the building highly sustainable. The building is pursuing LEED Platinum certification.
The ECE building was one of 12 selected by the AIA’s Committee on Architecture for Education. The committee honors educational facilities that serve as an example of a superb place in which to learn, furthering the client’s mission, goals, and educational program while demonstrating excellence in architectural design.
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