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UW Visual Arts Building recognized for efficiency
The University of Wyoming Visual Arts Building has won an award from the American Institute of Architects. UW photo

UW Visual Arts Building recognized for efficiency

Nov 13, 2012 - The Associated Press

LARAMIE -- The University of Wyoming's new Visual Arts Building has received national recognition for its energy efficient engineering and design features.

The building won a Portland 2030 Challenge Design Award at the recent American Institute of Architects Committee on the Environment Green Champions Summit.

Only three awards were given at the competition.

The winners were picked by Architecture 2030, which is a nonprofit organization that works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the building sector. The judges considered the carbon dioxide reductions and 2030 target compliance as well as the overall sustainable design objectives.

The building, which opened in January, is projected to achieve a 54 percent reduction over the national average.

One of the Architecture 2030 jurors noted that the jury was impressed with the myriad of sustainable strategies and beauty of the project.

Energy conservation in the building is achieved in several ways. Among those contributing to the award were the evaporative cooling that saves thousands of dollars in energy costs; natural ventilation; displacement air distribution; exhaust air heat recovery; exhaust air process control, which not only saves energy, but improves indoor air quality and the health of building occupants; lighting system controls; day lighting, which also enhances many art-making processes; and renewable energy from an on-site solar thermal array to produce hot water for heat.

It is the first UW facility pending a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum certification, says Roger Baalman, UW director of Facilities Planning.

LEED, the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability, provides a rating system with four certification levels for new construction: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

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