Douglas Hall earns gold for green

Douglas Hall

Douglas Hall earned a gold LEED certification, second-highest rating given by the U.S. Green Building Council. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin

UIC’s Douglas Hall earned praise for the renovation that advanced it from 1960s Brutalism to 21st century corporate, a streamlined look with state-of-the-art facilities suitable for the home of the College of Business Administration.

Now the building has plaudits from environmentalists as well.

Douglas Hall received a gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the second highest rating awarded by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council. LEED certification is the internationally recognized verification that a building is environmentally responsible, profitable and a healthy place in which to live and work.

Douglas Hall is the second UIC building to win the gold, following the 2010 renovation of nearby Lincoln Hall.

The University of Illinois Board of Trustees has determined that all new construction and renovation will be designed to achieve at least a silver LEED designation, said Mark Donovan, vice chancellor for administrative services.

“Leveraging the ‘triple bottom line’ — profits, people and the planet — has become a core value of business in the 21st century, and one that we instill through our curriculum,” said Michael B. Mikhail, dean of Business Administration.

“To teach that in classrooms that reflect the concept sends a strong message to our students about the importance of sustainability.”

Douglas Hall’s sustainability comes from geothermal wells, solar panels, automated interior lights, water savers, automated cooling and heating, and automated window shades. The floors are made of low-maintenance recycled rubber. Landscaping and cleaning procedures are also designed for sustainability.

The building’s teaching amenities include a mock trading room, boardroom, collaboration hubs, conference and breakout rooms, and state-of-the-art technology for long-distance learning.

Donovan noted that the building was finished on time, within budget and with equal consideration for end users and facility management.

“The college had a clear vision of its needs for its academic program. Business education in Chicago is very competitive,” he said.

The renovation was funded by student fees and gifts from individual and corporate donors. The solar panels were funded in part by the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

The design, by The Architects Enterprise Ltd., called for the 25,200-square-foot building to be gutted and its concrete-and-glass exterior removed, while retaining the lines that characterize Walter Netsch’s original design for east campus buildings.

Donovan said work will begin next summer on green renovation of four more buildings: the Science and Engineering Offices, Science and Engineering South, the Engineering Research Facility and the Science and Engineering Laboratories.

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