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Green renovations at the Perry Casteneda Library

Thanks to a generous donation from the University Federal Credit Union, Project Management and Construction Services (PMCS) is renovating the periodical room of the Perry Casteneda Library to create the new Student Learning Commons. The new space will function similarly to the ground floor of the Flawn Academic Center, and will feature wireless Internet hook ups, numerous outlets to plug in laptops, periodical shelves, and a projection screen and special event media equipment. The project will be complete by August 31, 2007, and will mark a turning point for green renovations on campus.

PMCS is performing renovations for this project in a very environmentally friendly way. Project manager, Tony Guzman, explains, "We are using this as an opportunity to learn more about how we can build sustainable practices into renovation projects. Making renovation projects green is challenging, but we are glad to be on the forefront of this endeavor."

The campus has been practicing green building habits for a while with new construction projects, but green renovation is a bit trickier. This is because renovations involve both what you build and bring onto campus and what you do with the old materials you take off campus. PMCS has increased the amount of renovation materials they are recycling in this project, and they even have student interns from the College of Engineering and School of Architecture supporting research into how to make this project—and future renovation projects—meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards for renovations.

Emily Potts, a graduate student in the School of Architecture, has used her internship to help develop procedures for incorporating LEED standards into future PMCS renovations. She notes, "Good design is about being able to adhere to these environmental standards."

A particularly environmentally friendly aspect of the future Student Learning Commons is the new lighting and reflective white ceilings, which will improve both the atmosphere and energy efficiency of the space. In addition, PMCS plans to repurpose the old furniture, and recycle carpeting and ceiling panels.

Bethany Trombley, senior project manager with PMCS, concludes, "The goal is to make sure we are doing everything we can to make renovation projects sustainable. Then the goal is to let other people know what we’re doing and what they can do, because that inspires people."