In keeping with the University's Sustainability Plan released in February 2008, the design for the Arts and Transit Project includes a commitment to environmental stewardship and incorporates the Sustainability Plan's landscape and stormwater strategies to restore, enhance and expand the natural areas of campus; and sustainable building technologies to reduce energy demand and conserve water.
As suggested by the project's name, transit is a key component of the site's sustainability strategy. The plan provides a transit plaza that will accommodate multimodal transit systems, including: the community jitney, NJ TRANSIT buses and trains (the Dinky), campus shuttles, bicycles, taxis and passenger cars. By providing a location where people can connect to multiple modes of transportation to travel around the region, the Arts and Transit Project will reduce dependence on passenger cars.
Other sustainable strategies include roadway improvements that will reduce traffic congestion and gas consumption, which in turn will reduce carbon emissions. The plan's provision of a north entrance to the West Garage (Lot 7) will reduce the vehicle miles traveled, as cars arriving to campus from the north will not have to loop past the garage to Faculty Road and double back to enter the garage from the south.
Another key component of the project's sustainability plan is the strategy for managing stormwater to protect nearby streams and Lake Carnegie. Landscape-based strategies under consideration include:
- Reduction of impervious areas and increase in landscaped areas to mimic natural drainage patterns.
- Green roofs to slow water runoff and insulate buildings.
- Porous pavement to promote infiltration of stormwater into soils to replenish groundwater.
- Biofiltration swales to filter and detain stormwater.
- Underground sand filters to remove particulates from stormwater runoff.
- Underground water storage to infiltrate and slow water runoff and harvest rainwater for re-use.
For the initial academic buildings, the project team of Steven Holl Architects, BNIM Architects and ARUP Engineering is designing toward the goal of utilizing 50 percent less energy than required by current energy codes and an equivalency of LEED silver. To achieve this goal an integrated, comprehensive set of features are being considered:
- Closed loop ground source heat pumps (geothermal).
- Green roofs.
- Improved exterior envelope performance.
- Daylighting control.
- Mechanical systems incorporating chilled beams, heat recovery units, radiant floor cooling/heating and displacement ventilation.
- Passive design strategies of building orientation, shading, natural light, natural ventilation and thermal mass.
The initial academic buildings, along with the site strategies, will support the Sustainability Plan goals for stormwater management and water conservation. Green roofs and a rainwater harvesting system will be designed to decrease the rate and quantity of stormwater runoff. Rainwater harvesting also will contribute to a decreased use of potable water through its treatment and re-use within the building to support the building's restrooms and other nonpotable functions.
In furthering environmental stewardship goals, sustainable material selection and construction management practices also will be key components of the building project.