When more than 37,000 students at the University of North Texas System return to school this month, they will be learning in an environment that is greener than before.
Photo: UNT Life Sciences Complex, UNT - Denton.
Three new buildings on the UNT System campuses — UNT Dallas, UNT Health Science Center in Fort Worth and UNT — will feature 300,000 square feet of environmentally friendly teaching and research space. Environmental amenities include rainwater collection systems, locker rooms to encourage bicycling to work, sustainable architectural finishes and local construction materials. Buildings will house state-of-the-art research laboratories, classrooms and medical training facilities.
System officials are pursuing gold-level LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for all of the buildings, which means the design, construction and operation meet strict environmental standards. Learn more about the LEED certification.
“We have an obligation to leave to future generations campuses that minimize use of resources and don’t harm the environment,” said Rich Escalante, vice chancellor for administrative services. “There is also the very practical matter of cost. We keep our buildings 50 to 75 years, and by building in this manner, the sustainable features of the buildings pay for themselves through their efficiencies within eight years. Plus, environmentally responsible buildings mean healthier buildings with better air quality.”
The UNT System commitment to building green grew from an initiative by Chancellor Lee Jackson to construct future buildings to meet or exceed the latest efficiency and environmental standards.
Sustainability, however, is not new to UNT’s flagship campus. Denton’s legacy of environmentalism began more than 100 years ago when students chose green as the school color. In the 1930s, UNT’s first research faculty member, J.K.G. Silvey, contracted with the city of Dallas to improve water quality. Today, UNT offers 65 courses with a sustainability focus, and faculty in many disciplines are searching for ways to reduce society’s impact on the environment. In its daily operations, UNT is dedicated to treading lightly.
Three additional LEED construction projects — a new stadium, a Business Leadership Building and a parking garage — are being managed by the UNT System on the UNT flagship campus.
Here is a look at the three buildings opening or nearing completion:
Life Sciences Complex, UNT main campus, Denton (photo above)
The four-story state-of-the-art research facility for biochemistry and molecular biology, developmental physiology, genetics and plant science will expand UNT’s research capabilities in the life sciences. A climate-controlled rooftop research greenhouse is designed for technologically advanced plant science research, and an aquatics laboratory will allow researchers to study a wide range of human health issues, from blood clots and oxygen deprivation to diabetes and cancer, as well as marine conservation.
Among the environmental features are:
Academic Building 2, UNT Dallas
The three-story, 102,000-square-foot building will contain classrooms, laboratories, an expanded library and staff and faculty offices and will allow the university to admit freshmen and sophomores for the first time this semester. It is the campus’ second building.
Environmental features include:
See more images of the UNT Dallas Academic Building 2.
Medical Education and Training Building, UNT Health Science Center, Fort Worth
Two floors of the 112,000-square foot building are now complete and in use, and the three remaining floors will be complete in summer 2011. When finished, the building will house a large osteopathic manipulative medicine training room, a state-of-the-art patient simulation training facility, physical therapy instruction labs, offices and small and large classrooms and meeting rooms.
Some environmental features are:
Informational signs throughout the building will provide specific details on why this is a green project. See more images of the Medical Education and Training Building.