Sustainable Shineman Center
Green features 'ingrained' in Shineman Center design, construction

The Richard S. Shineman Center for Science, Engineering and Innovation stands as an environmentally friendly tribute to its own name, brimming with sustainable innovations in science, engineering, design and construction that educate as they conserve.

captionFrom the highly visible—twin LED touchscreens in the main entryway that monitor the building’s energy pulse—to the nearly invisible—the state’s largest geothermal-well installation—teaching and learning opportunities abound for students, faculty, staff and the community.

“The Shineman Center is the direction SUNY Oswego is moving,” said Jamie Adams, the college’s sustainability programs coordinator. “This is a landmark piece, a watershed moment leading to where the campus is going by 2050.”

The Presidents’ Climate Commitment, signed by Oswego President Deborah F. Stanley in 2007, pledges to reduce the college’s carbon footprint 40 percent by mid-century. Design of the $118 million Shineman Center—from outside to in, from top to bottom, from large features to small teachable ones—propels SUNY Oswego along that path.

Led by Cannon Design in cooperation with the Campus Concept Committee and every academic department housed in the 230,000-square-foot building, the Shineman Center’s construction features such environmentally enlightened characteristics as recycled fly ash in the estimated 13,000 cubic yards of concrete. The building materials are regional and renewable, with recycled content no less than that required for the LEED Gold certification the college is seeking. State-of-the art foam insulation and curtain-wall construction help seal the building, and innovative windows allow in light but not heat.

Educational impact

The geothermal installation (see video), which will result in an estimated reduction of 12 percent of the building’s annual energy cost and a 33 percent reduction in emissions, required drilling 240 wells to a depth of nearly 500 feet to take advantage of the temperature differential between the earth’s steady 56 degrees and that of the surface, distributed by durable plastic piping and state-of-the-art heat pumps.

“This presents a huge teaching opportunity,” said Casey Raymond, assistant professor of chemistry and the faculty shepherd for Shineman Center design and construction.

Raymond said smaller innovations already have begun to make an educational impact. For example, each water fountain has an adjacent water bottle filling station, encouraging reuse rather than new purchases of plastic bottles.

“From the first few minutes after the building opened, students were grabbing their water bottles and refilling them,” he said “The contractors like it, the students like it. The stations have created a lot of interest.”

Michael Lotito, engineering coordinator for the sustainability office in Facilities Design and Construction, pointed to the building’s rooftop solar array, two roof gardens and four rectangular retention basins, and to indoor systems for monitoring water, light, heat and air conditioning use as additional opportunities to learn about sustainable practices.

“Sustainability is really ingrained in the building,” Lotito said. “Everything is a teaching opportunity.”

The ground-level bike storage room and the showers in the Shineman Center’s Observation Wing came into use even before the first student crossed the threshold for class.

“We have a fair number of bike riders among the faculty,” said Larry Fuller, chair of the chemistry department, which moved in on June 1. Fuller noted he was among the first to use the men’s room’s shower to transition from refereeing a soccer match to working in his office.

Accessible labs

Raymond and Lotito both noted other features of the building designed to encourage fewer motor vehicle trips to campus.

“A huge part of our carbon footprint is people driving to campus,” Raymond said.

Lounge areas pop up throughout the Shineman Center, encouraging students to stay in the building to study rather than drive elsewhere. WiFi is available throughout the building, wired ports abound and there are ranks of storage lockers on the Innovation Wing’s ground floor available for a refundable fee. The Nucleus atrium and cafe invite students, faculty, staff and visitors with a wide variety of seating options, from high-top chairs to a serpentine couch, and a diverse menu.

The Shineman Center’s laboratories—dozens for everything from cold-room experiments to nuclear magnetic resonance, from geology to zoology—are packed with sustainability features: fume hoods with energy-efficiency controls and monitoring, accessible sinks as well as under-workbench storage cabinets that roll out to permit wheelchair access, a solvent recycler to reduce the amount of acetone used in experiments, to name a few.

“We did a lot of those features along the lines of universal design,” Raymond said.

The building will host an open house with tours, demonstrations and student poster presentations for campus and community members from noon to 7 p.m. on Sept. 30. The dedication is set for 2 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 4.

PHOTO CAPTION: Earth’s bounty—Geothermal energy, estimated to reduce the Richard S. Shineman Center’s annual energy cost by 12 percent, relies on 22 miles of subterranean piping in 240 wells—the state’s largest geothermal installation—to tap the constant temperature of the Earth at a depth of nearly 500 feet. The cutaway schematic is from a new video explaining how the geothermal system serves as an exchange for heating and cooling the 230,000-square-foot building.

(Posted: Sep 04, 2013)