New UMD Business building promises to be green, save green
by David Buckner
As the spring semester winds to a close, construction on the new Labovitz School of Business and Economics building is finishing as well. But this new addition to UMD isn’t your average box of brick and concrete.
The LSBE building has used construction methods that will have a positive effect on the environment, and will also help to save UMD money.
The total price tag of the building is $19 million, according to John Rashid, manager for construction and operations at UMD. The State of Minnesota funded $11 million for the project, while the Labovitz family donated another $5 million. The rest of the bill was paid for by UMD.
A small portion of that money went towards a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. It is part of UMD’s effort to be more environmentally friendly.
“We are the first school in the University of Minnesota system to be LEED certified,�? says Rashid.
According to Rashid, LEED certified buildings use environmentally friendly materials, and they are more water and energy efficient.
LEED buildings also cost more in construction. According to Rashid, the new LSBE will cost $3 more per square foot. That adds about $200 thousand in construction costs for the 65 thousand square foot building. However, the energy efficiency of a LEED certified building will save money in the long run.
“I’d be willing to guess that the new building will save about $30 thousand to $40 thousand per year in energy costs alone,�? says Rashid.
Those savings will pay for the extra construction costs in about five or six years.
There are several green features in the new LSBE that help to save energy. According to Rashid, the building insulation is thicker which will reduce summer cooling and winter heating costs. There are also water efficient plumbing fixtures, and motion and daylight sensors for lighting control. The highly recyclable materials used throughout the building further the energy efficiency.
Energy savings isn’t the only advantage to the building. Kjell Knudsen is the Dean of the LSBE. He says that building will give the staff and students a little more breathing room.
“We ran out of space,�? Knudsen says. “Not only classroom space, but we ran out of space for the faculty and staff also.�?
Knudsen and the rest of the staff for the LSBE have walked through the new building. Knudsen is impressed with what he has seen so far.
“It’s not only a beautiful building, it’s a functional building,�? he says. “The teaching spaces are outstanding, and the space is also to the advantage of the students.�?
Adam Bartels, a junior accounting and finance major, hopes that the added space will make it easier to get into classes.
“There is a big bottleneck trying to get into business classes because of the class sizes,�? says Bartels. “The new building will be able to accommodate for that.�?
Bartels is also excited for the new office that is designated for VITA, a student run program that helps other UMD students file taxes. In the current LSBE building, there is no space for VITA.
“For the majority of the tax season we were just in the corner of the accounting office,�? says Bartels.
Professor Randy Skalberg teaches tax accounting and business law at UMD. He too is happy with the space provided in the new building. He says it allows the LSBE to have smaller class sizes compared to other big universities, yet the space is fully functional and practical. He is also happy about the added comfort that LEED certification will bring. As part of the energy efficient design, the new building will stay much cooler during summer classes.
“It’s an important update,�? says Skalberg. “The classrooms get very hot. The temperature control shouldn’t be an issue in the new building.�?
The new LSBE will be open for this year’s summer session.