College Renovates Campus Building to Increase Environmental Sustainability

maryvilleA Tennessee college is taking a number of steps towards creating an environmentally-sustainable campus by renovating one of its oldest buildings. After nearly a year of construction, beginning in September 2013 and projected to be completed in December 2014, workers have begun installed energy-efficient windows in the building. This change alone is expected to have a significant effect on the way the building operates and uses energy.

Maryville College, located in Maryville, Tennessee, is nearing the completion of renovations in one of its most prominent buildings: Anderson Hall, a 144-year-old structure. Following a variety of other changes to the building, workers began installing energy-efficient windows Tuesday, July 29th and are expected to have finished the third floor windows by Wednesday. The construction company hopes to complete one floor of windows every 2 and 1/2, concluding the window installation process by the end of August.

Anderson Hall’s windows reportedly presented a slight challenge, as none of the building’s windows are identical. As a result, the construction company was required to order and install individual custom windows. These new windows are designed to be easily opened and include a low-energy glass coating that will help insulate the windows, regulate temperatures inside the hall, and prevent moisture intrusion. While the trim around each window is aluminum, crews are set to install interior molding, window trim, and paint the aluminum to resemble wood.

The renovation of Anderson Hall has also resulted in a number of new, environmentally sustainable features in addition to the new windows: for example, the floors will be sealed with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) coating, while common areas, corridors, and staircases are being rebuilt and refinished with red oak wood. Students and faculty will also have access to drinking fountains with electronically activated water bottle fillers on each floor. And because Anderson Hall has always relied on the chimney effect to move air in and out of the building, crews have installed air handling units in the basement and attic, which will pull air from outside and combine it with conditioned air, heating or cooling the building as necessary. These units will use the university’s high-efficiency chiller plant, which is used by the college’s Science Center, as well as the school’s steam plant to change the air temperature.

The changes to Anderson Hall are only the latest step in a plan created in 2012 by the college’s Board of Directors to increase environmental sustainability. The plan aims to reduce campus-wide energy usage by 15% and have more buildings meet green building standards. So far, the college seems to have made decent progress: in 2013, the Crawford House, a 137-year-old farmhouse used for the university’s Mountain Challenge program, received a LEED Gold certification. It is the oldest building in Tennessee to hold such a certification.

Maryville has reported that Anderson Hall is expected to reopen for the 2015 Spring semester. Until then, classes and faculty members who previously used the building have been relocated to Carnegie, Fayerweather, and Thaw Halls. With only a few months left on the building project, the college awaits the results of their environmentally-conscious renovations.