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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

ILC’s ‘green roof’ raises sustainability ceiling

The east side of the UA Mall is used as a “green roof,” or a turf to provide insulation and cooling for buildings underground, to help drive down energy costs and create a better environment for buildings in the area.

In the mid to late 1990s, the UA employed a new building strategy to expand the campus while retaining the Mall’s structure and gaining the benefit of using nature to save money. The Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center was originally created as a way to retain incoming freshmen and help them graduate, according to Peter Dourlein, assistant vice president of Planning, Design and Construction.

The resources provided by the center include tutors, classrooms that use new technology, computer labs, information commons and resources for faculty to better help them teach their students.

Nowadays, the center’s resources, including the classrooms, are available for all students to use — not just freshmen. Not only does the implementation of the “green turf roof” help reduce heating and cooling costs in the center and in other building’s underground levels, it also creates a better environment for students, according to Garry Forger, an officer of Development-Grants Management.

“Having the green space helps them (students) to relax, which helps them do better in their studies,” Forger said.

The green roof also helps conserve natural resources by using reclaimed water. The initial project was not set out to be based on the tenets of environmental design, however. It was the first time the university employed environmentally sound building techniques.

“By using this unique concept of an underground building not only were we able to keep the integrity of the mall, but we were able to create our first green project,” said Chris Kopach, assistant vice president of Facilities Management.

The green roof project was completed in the early 2000s by alumni and was funded through the university.

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