Building displays green technology

North Hall, Gannon University’s brand new student living building, has garnered campus-wide attention, but while its size and general “newness” are raising eyebrows, the building’s energy efficiency should drop some jaws, too.

According to Gary Garnic, associate vice president of campus services, North Hall has several building features that are energy efficient, including the power-recycling elevators and low-waste heating and cooling systems.

“The elevators are regenerative,” Garnic said. “As they cycle, they actually create energy and put it back into the grid.”

“Then we have energy recovery units on the roof that reclaim the cool and hot air before it gets wasted, and actually put it back into the incoming airstream.”

Garnic also explained Gannon’s new venture into a valence heating and cooling system, which the university installed in several offices and buildings over the summer, as well as into a few areas of North Hall.

“It’s a new type of heating and air conditioning system that doesn’t require any energy,” Garnic said.  “A coil goes across top of the room – there are no fans or blowers. Convection causes the heated or cooled air to move and cool the room.”

According to Garnic, North Hall’s water heating system is a new step in high efficiency and high recovery. “It’s not like the olden days when you had to run a boiler and store hot water for use,” he said. “It can be remade almost as quickly as they use it.”

That means there should never be an instance when a student turns on the hot water and is blasted with freezing temperatures.

The outside of the building is surrounded by what Garnic referred to as “vegetated swales,” or little pools where rainwater can be collected and deposited into a larger container underneath the front of North Hall.

“The idea is you don’t want large amounts of storm runoff hitting the city’s sewer system,” Garnic said.

From the large container, the rainwater is then slowly let into the sewers, so as to avoid flooding. All of these new energy saving strategies are on display in North Hall, and according to Garnic, Gannon will continue to implement energy efficiency into future building projects.

Environmental Club President Jake Anastasia, a junior environmental engineering major, said he was excited to learn of Gannon’s new eco-friendly initiative.

“It’s very important for Gannon to have a green initiative for future buildings and future projects,” Anastasia said. “It’s becoming such a big concern – not just on college campuses – but in cities and countries, too.”

DAN KUBACKI

[email protected]