Bill Timmerman

The greenest building may be the one that's already built—except when it isn't. The new Arizona State University Student Health Services Building in Tempe, designed by Lake|Flato Architects and Orcutt|Winslow, involved a carefully considered decision to demolish an inefficient, underperforming building and build a new one in its place. 

The facility provides basic health services and women's health services to the 60,000-student campus, as well as other preventative and wellness services such as chiropractic and acupuncture. After a thorough programming and cost-analysis process, the design team recommended renovating a 14,000-square-foot, two-story wing of an existing building, deconstructing the oldest single-story part of the facility (and recycling as much of the material as possible), and constructing a new 20,000-square-foot, two-story addition. The resulting building greatly increased the facility’s efficiency, reducing its footprint by 20 percent and preserving 5,000 square feet of open green space. Employing such factors as increased thermal barriers, high-efficiency mechanical systems, strategically sited and high-performance glazing, and ample daylighting, the building boasts a 49 percent energy reduction below the standard for a typical similar building. 

Given Tempe's often-harsh climate and unrelenting sunshine, biophilic design and siting were paramount to the project. The team devised passive solutions to reduce the building’s thermal loads, based on local climatic data and the site's orientation. As a result, clinics and offices are located along the south and west, and glazing along these sun-absorbing sides was kept to a minimum. Broad roof overhangs provide both natural shade to the south-facing glass and a striking design element, and vertical sunshades on the south and west provide privacy within examination rooms while minimizing thermal loads. The east-facing exterior walls include rigid insulation and additional screens to mitigate thermal gain. In the renovation of the existing wing, the original single-glazed windows were replaced with low-E glazing. 

In addition, this project offsets 39 percent of its total energy costs through an on-site, 69-kilowatt photovoltaic array, and renewable energy certificates offset 35 percent of the building’s remaining electricity consumption.

The client also wanted to deinstitutionalize the facility and weave it into the fabric of the campus. Most significantly, the project upgraded the facility's interaction with the historic Palm Walk, the campus’s main pedestrian spine, via a new entry pavilion that resulted in a more accessible facility and contributed to a more walkable campus. The design replaces 10,000 square feet of turf grass with native landscaping that further connects with the Palm Walk. Because of increased efficiencies in the building's layout such as equipping exam rooms with lab capabilities, patient wait times for lab tests have decreased by up to 50 minutes on average, according to the university. 

At a time when Arizona is suffering what some have called a water crisis, water management was essential to the plan. The project supports ASU’s campus-wide initiative of managing all stormwater on campus, with all of the facility's stormwater managed on the site or on the adjacent lawn through the use of rain chains and cisterns.  Furthermore, indoor potable water usage has been reduced by 29 percent from the calculated baseline through low-flow fixtures. 

Finally, being an educational institution, ASU has made the building's performance data available on an interactive website called Campus Metabolism that enables students and the public to view the energy use of several campus buildings, including the new health center. "At the end of design we had a project that was very good from an energy and sustainability perspective," says Andrew Herdeg, FAIA, of Lake|Flato. "We took that project from good to great by continuing to ask questions, push the envelope, and connect with the client, ASU, in new ways."

Click here to see all of the 2014 AIA COTE Top Ten Green Projects. Scroll down for more images, along with performance data and project team and materials information. Stay tuned for profiles of this year's winning firms on, along with additional coverage of this year's Top Ten in the Spring issue of ECOBUILDING Review.

Bill Timmerman
Bill Timmerman
Bill Timmerman

Bill Timmerman

Completion date: May 2012
Building gross floor area: 34,318
Estimated percent of occupants using public transit, cycling, or walking: 80
Daylighting at levels that allow lights to be off during daylight hours: 40
Lighting power density (watts per square foot): 0.88
Percent of views to the outdoors: 40
Percent of spaces within 15 feet of an operable window: 0
Percent reduction of regulated potable water: 29
Potable water used for irrigation: Yes
Percent of rainwater from maximum anticipated 24-hour, two-year storm event that can be managed on site: 100
Total EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 36
Net EUI (kBtu per square foot per year): 25
Percent reduction from national median EUI for building type: 73
Third-party rating: LEED Platinum
Total project cost as time of completion (land excluded): $7,600,000

Design architect: Lake|Flato Architects,
Architect of record, interior designer, green consultant, LEED consultant: Orcutt|Winslow,
Client, owner: Arizona State University,
Electrical engineer, life-cycle analyst, mechanical engineer: Van Boerum & Frank Associates,
Structural engineer: Caruso Turley Scott Inc,
Civil engineer: Littlejohn Engineering Associates,
Landscape architect: Ten Eyck Landscape Architects, 
Construction manager, general contractor: Okland Construction,

Alternative energy systems: Ameresco,
Carpet: Shaw,
Ceilings: Armtrong Ceilings,
Cladding: Kovach,; Arcadia,
Curtainwalls, glazing: Arcadia,
Flooring: Daltile,
Furnishings: Target Commercial Interiors,; Steelcase,
Glass: Oldcastle,
Lighting control systems: Watt Stopper,
Lighting: Hubbell,; Philips,; Focal Point,; Columbia,; Delta Light,; Prescolite,
Masonry, concrete and stone: Phoenix Brick,; Southwest Architectural Castings,
Metal: Kovach,
Millwork: European techniques,
Paints and finishes: Sherwin-Williams,
Plumbing and water systems: Kohler Faucets,; Sloan,; Chiacgo Faucets,; Moen,; Haws,
Roofing: Sika Sarnafil,
Structural systems: Milling Machinery,
Wallcoverings: American Clay,
Windows and doors: VT Industries,; Southwestern Hollow Metal

Data provided by AIA and Lake|Flato