2 LEED Gold buildings and 1 Silver
75% of buildings use light sensors
First campus in the US to receive USEPA ENERGY STAR rating for residence halls
UNH is committed to being sustainable in its building design and construction, and operations. We were one of the first campus in the US to receive the US EPA ENERGY STAR rating for residence halls, and has multiple LEED buildings. Our building management program uses an integrated approach through which teams of staff across campus collaborate to continually assess and address building occupant health (indoor air quality, natural light), resource use (energy, water, materials), site management (grounds and stormwater), and access by non-vehicle transportation.
In 2018 UNH commissioned the design and construction of its Northwest Heat Plan (NWHP), a new biomass-fired, district heat plant. The plant utilizes semi-dry woodchips, which are a new and innovative biomass fuel that is widely used in Europe but just beginning to gain adoption in the United States.
UNH is the first higher education institution to use semi-dry chips in the United States. This emerging biomass fuel type has benefits when compared to more traditional wet woodchips and wood pellets. This state-of-the-art facility provides heating hot water to five buildings totaling over 100,000 net square feet of academic and research space.
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UNH Planning, Design and Construction Guidelines provide general instructions to designers in the planning and preparation of construction documents, as well as general guidance to construction professionals working on projects for the University. The purpose is to ensure a minimum standard of quality, durability, consistency, maintainability, and sustainability in building and infrastructure design and construction.
As part of its American College & University Presidents Climate Commitment pledge, UNH has made a commitment to achieve the equivalent of U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver for new construction and major renovations, including the formal commissioning of each new project. The guidelines alone provide the equivalent to at least a LEED basic certified level.
The UNH Planning, Design and Construction Guidelines describe that attention must be given to the proper sorting and recycling of construction and demolition materials.
For example, for the renovation of WildCat Stadium, UNH achieved a diversion rate of over 97%, meaning nearly all of the “waste” generated by that project was recycled or re-used—a fitting achievement for UNH’s first Zero Waste space.
The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS), in collaboration with the Sustainability Institute and UNH Facilities, developed an Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Management Plan to assist Facilities in providing UNH faculty, staff, students, guests, and visitors indoor environments which are free of airborne contaminants. The IAQ Management Plan is a proactive program where building occupants participate through education and outreach to identify potential sources of pollutants and implement corrective actions to eliminate them. Through a concerted effort by building stakeholders, Facilities Operations, Campus Energy and OEHS, this proactive plan is designed to educate and inform the community about addressing IAQ concerns in the workplace.
NH submeters every building for its consumption of electricity, natural gas, domestic cold water, hot water heat, steam heat, and chilled water cooling. We capture heat and cooling meters through our central energy management system. The 600 meters are manually read each month, and assessed for issues and action items to be included in each building management plan. A radio metering system captures the readings in real-time and displays them to the public.
UNH's energy management system featuring Andover controls (TAC) that allows the UNH energy office to monitor and adjust building energy systems based on automatic occupancy sensors, classroom scheduling, and other devices that trigger the equipment to turn off or ramp down in energy use to minimize consumption. All core campus buildings are tied to our energy management system, which increases and decreases temperatures based on occupancy and time schedules. Typical spaces are heated from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. as a maximum M-F and off on weekends. We also use sensors to turn off space heating in some areas. For classrooms, we use the schedule from the registrar’s office to also shut down spaces when unused. If someone is in the space when the system is off, they have an override button that will give them 2 hours of heat. For areas not on the core campus, we employ programmable thermostats which mimic the normal hours for the space. Facilities does regular surveys regarding opportunities and needs for optimizing temperature control, the results of which are utilized in each integrated building management plan.
Light sensors are used in over 75% of campus buildings, ranging from occupancy sensors in office, bathrooms, classrooms to daylighting controls that reduce light output based on incoming natural light through windows.
We have multiple teams of housekeeping staff across campus, and all of their efforts are guided by our sustainable building management policy. They’re continually seeking environmentally-friendly cleaning supplies and materials to ensure a healthy learning and working environment for our students, faculty, staff and building service workers. New products and practices are continually introduced, and new product and “green cleaning” training happens at various times of the year.
We’ve been upgrading waste stations across campus to include UNH’s new standard for recycling/compost/waste bins and signage, and waste station location and signage is checked periodically to ensure they continue to be available and up to date. We’re also always working hard to ensure that housekeeping staff members are trained on how best to support UNH’s recycling and waste diversion efforts.
To minimize waste and toxics, UNH procurement policies and guidelines mandate the use of the most efficient, environmentally-friendly products and services (for example, products that are certified as Energy STAR, WaterSense, ECOLOGO, Green Seal certified, etc.); these policies guide our approach to building management.
The management plans for buildings across campus include strategies for cutting pollution through best practices in dealing with snow and ice, pests and weeds, and stormwater management). We’re also always working to maximize and encourage access by active and public transportation; e.g. through provision and maintenance of bike racks, pedestrian-friendly pathways, implementation of “NextBus” and other efforts to incentivize and support the use of public transportation.