North Campus, Flint buildings get sustainability ratings

Three University of Michigan buildings recently earned energy and environmental design leadership certifications from the US Green Building Council in recognition of their sustainability efforts.

Ford Motor Company’s Robotics Building on North Campus has been rated LEED Gold. The new Dance Building within the School of Music, Drama and Dance on North Campus and the expansion of the William Science Building R. Murchie at UM-Flint have been rated LEED Silver.

Ford Motor Company robotic building

The Ford Motor Company Robotics Building is a four-story, 134,000 square foot complex that serves as the hub of the UM Robotics Institute.

The first three floors of the complex include custom robotics labs, maker spaces, classrooms and offices, while the fourth floor houses a Ford Robotics and Mobility Research Lab and 100 Ford researchers and engineers.

The atrium of the Ford Motor Company Robotics Building on North Campus. (Photo courtesy of Architecture, Engineering and Construction)

Sustainable features include:

  • An open staircase – with prominent natural light – in the lobby of the main building. Its presence invites occupants to use the stairs, promoting health and well-being while reducing elevator electricity.
  • Energy savings of nearly 31%, compared to a building that complies with the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy code.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures that reduce potable water consumption by up to 35%, compared to Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood and agricultural fiber products.
  • Close to public transport and basic services such as restaurants, shops and places of worship.

During construction, nearly 84% of the waste generated on site was diverted from the landfill. The building includes recycled materials and content manufactured and mined within 500 miles of the building.

dance building

SMTD’s new dance building includes 24,000 square feet, a 100-seat performance hall, dance studios, changing rooms and administrative space.

It is also the first UM project to be certified under the new, stricter version of LEED (LEED v4).

Photo of SMTD's new dance building on North Campus.
SMTD’s new dance building on North Campus. (Photo by Jim Haefner Photography)

Features include:

  • Energy savings of nearly 26%, compared to a building that complies with the ASHRAE 90.1-2010 energy code.
  • Low-impact development and green infrastructure strategies that mimic the site’s natural hydrology while managing rainwater as close to the source as possible.
  • Native and adaptive plants that require no irrigation.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures that reduce potable water consumption by up to 35%, compared to Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Views of the natural outdoor environment for 90% of regularly occupied areas.
  • Close to public transport and basic services.

During construction, 76% of the waste generated on site was diverted from the landfill.

Extension of the Murchie Science Pavilion

The Murchie Science Building expansion project adds an additional wing and 61,000 square feet of labs, active learning classrooms and collaborative spaces for student organizations.

The expansion is the first LEED-certified building on the Flint campus and is designed for students pursuing studies in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Photo of the William R. Murchie Science Building expansion at UM-Flint.
The expansion of the William R. Murchie Science Building at UM-Flint. (Photo courtesy of UM-Flint)

Features include:

  • A 24% saving in energy costs, compared to a building that complies with the ASHRAE 90.1-2007 energy code.
  • A stormwater management system reduces the amount of stormwater runoff on the site. In addition, the new system will improve water quality by removing sediment that would otherwise flow into local water sources.
  • Low-flow plumbing fixtures that reduce potable water consumption by more than 35%, compared to Michigan Plumbing Code requirements.
  • Low VOC adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, flooring systems, and composite wood and agricultural fiber products.
  • Close to public transport and basic services.

During construction, 93% of the waste generated on site was diverted from the landfill. The building includes recycled materials and content manufactured and mined within 500 miles of the building.

Seventy-eight percent of total wood-based materials are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, having been harvested from responsibly managed forests that are socially beneficial, environmentally conscious and economically viable.

LEED and energy conservation efforts

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It recognizes sustainability efforts to create healthy, highly efficient and economical green buildings on one of four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

The Murchie Science Building expansion, Dance Building and Ford Motor Company Robotics Building are the 20th, 21st and 22nd UM buildings to earn LEED designations. All new UM buildings and additions with an estimated construction budget over $10 million must achieve at least LEED Silver certification.

In addition to pursuing LEED-certified construction and renovation projects, UM pursues sustainable building standards and energy-saving measures through its commitment to achieving university-wide carbon neutrality.

Recently announced actions to that end include expanded plans for geothermal heating and cooling systems, $10 million in funding for additional LED lighting in approximately 100 buildings on campuses in Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn, and $300 million in “green bonds” for projects that align with UM’s carbon neutral goals.

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