New UVU library is greenest building in Utah

The new library at UVU is the most energy efficient building in the state. Being the first building constructed under the guidelines of Utah’s High Performance Building program, the Digital Learning Center will save UVU close to $100,000 per year in utility costs.

“Just walking through the halls, even in its unfinished state, I’m inspired,” Gov. Jon M. Huntsman said of the library during his tour earlier this month.

Gov. Huntsman, a main benefactor in the Utah building program, also noted that the library is 65-90 percent more energy efficient than buildings built to the same code.

The new library’s energy efficient features are extensive.

The windows throughout the entire structure permit only 27 percent of the sun’s heat to enter. This allows building temperature to be more easily regulated, instantly lowering utility costs.

The exterior of the building has aluminum ledges called solar harvesting devices. These not only add to the library’s artistic design, but they shade the interior and reflect outside heat, while taking advantage of and using natural light.

In the winter, the heat generated by the hundreds of computer servers will be re-circulated into the air to warm the library.

The building also includes highly efficient lighting and cooling technology, direct/indirect evaporative cooling, ultrahigh-efficiency ballasts and lamps with daylight switching and occupancy sensors, and light-colored roofing to reduce building heat.

Additionally, the library takes advantage of the geothermal wells the campus has already been using by transferring heat in and out of the building through aquifers under campus.

“The library is unbelievable, really,” Michael Freeman, the library director, said. “I think everyone will be bowled over. It’s going to be a place people will want to be.”

The new library is six times the size of the old one and cost $48 million. It is 190,000 square feet, with 33 group study rooms, an art gallery, indoor and outdoor food services, a writing center, the entire integrated studies department, four large seminar rooms, and much more.

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