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Michigan State UniversityMichigan State UniversityInfrastructure Planning and Facilities
The new addition to Wells Hall allows for natural light to enter the building through windows and skylights.

The new addition to Wells Hall allows for natural light to enter the building through windows and skylights.

Green practices: stewardship-savvy building renovations

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April 30, 2012

Through the renovations of some of the largest buildings on campus, MSU is working hard to consume the least amount of energy possible.

One of the main goals while renovating a campus building is allowing for natural lighting through windows, glass building materials and skylights. The implementation will reduce the usage of energy through artificial light. Amr Abdel-Azim, architect III, has already seen results with the Wells Hall renovation. “People don’t use the artificial lights because they have plenty of natural light,” Abdel-Azim said. “It adds a cheerful atmosphere to the space.”

Motion sensors play a key role in achieving this goal. Lynda Boomer, energy and environmental engineer, contrasts her older office with the new standard. “I have switches, but nowadays there’d be a little motion sensor there, so if I forget to turn off my lights the sensor would do it automatically.”

Another important aspect of MSU’s environmental initiatives is the use of sustainable building materials. One element used in newer offices is Starwall, an eco-friendly demountable partition system. Panels that are mostly glass with an aluminum frame are assembled to create individual offices. Dean Geisenhaver, structural planner/inspector/analyst II, said “It’s mostly aluminum, and it’s all recyclable material.” Starwall is used at the Physical Plant*, MSU Police Department and the Eppley Center. In another example, the carpet used in the Wells Hall renovation will be recyclable.

Water consumption is an area of focus during the renovation process as well. The updates in Wells Hall will include sustainable restrooms. Low-flow and no-touch technologies used on faucets and toilets will reduce water usage. The low-flow aspect will reduce the amount of water consumed during use and motion sensors will eliminate water waste.

To take our efforts even further, the Physical Plant seeks to reduce pollution even in choosing building materials for its work. “Just to be green, we look for materials available on a regional basis,” Abdel-Azim said. “That is a reduction of transportation and fuel.”

The application of these renovations to older buildings as well as new proves MSU’s commitment to holistic sustainability.

Green Issue 2012

*Prior to the creation of Infrastructure Planning and Facilities in January 2013, several IPF departments were a part of the now-dissolved MSU Physical Plant. Some historical articles on this website reference that former unit.