Throughout the Master Plan process Rec Sports has placed an emphasis on creating a plan that prioritizes sustainability at each facility. While the Master Plan asks students to support an increase in segregated fees, new facilities would be more energy-efficient and cost-effective than the current facilities (even after substantial repairs and maintenance projects).
The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) uses a certification program called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and gives different levels of certification, ranging from Certified to Platinum, depending on how the building ranks in a variety of categories. In LEED certification, an effort is made to pursue points which have a strong return on investment.
Commitment to sustainable facilities.
Below is a list of intended sustainability initiatives to be included in the Rec Sports Master Plan:
- Seek a minimum LEED Silver rating at each facility (and equivalent for outdoor fields), following UW Builds Green initiative
- Maximize daylighting inside all new buildings to reduce overall energy consumption
- Use sustainable building materials wherever possible
- Reuse and recycle demolition materials from buildings (SERF & Natatorium) to keep them out of the landfill
- Include green roofs to reduce storm water runoff, help cool the buildings, and provide natural habitat
- Direct storm water to infiltration basins and bioswales to reduce the impact on Lake Mendota and promote infiltration
- Reduce significantly lawn irrigation on outdoor fields, reducing overall water consumption
- Use low-flow toilets and water-conserving showers in all new buildings
- Investigate use of solar preheat water panels on the roof of all new buildings
- Minimize pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers with the use of synthetic turf fields (made from recycled materials)
- Use sharp cutoff, night-sky compliant lighting on all outdoor fields and around all new buildings
- Encourage alternative transportation with more bike racks and shower facilities
The Wisconsin Institutes of Discovery (LEED Gold)
- 68% energy savings over the baseline building
- 78% less water reduction than the baseline building
- 936 bicycle stalls with four shower/changing facilities to promote alternative transportation
Union South (LEED Gold)
- 36% performance improvement over a similar “baseline” building
- Used vertical sun louvers, daylighting and occupancy sensors
- 7,853 square feet of vegetated green roofs help reduce the heat island effect along with capturing excess storm water
LaBahn Arena (LEED Silver)
- All plants and grass surrounding site require no irrigation
- Low-emitting paints, sealants, adhesives, carpets and furnishings were used
Other leaders in sustainability.
Outside of UW, schools are using LEED motivation to build energy-efficient buildings with cost-effective strategies.
University of Colorado-Boulder (exceeds LEED Platinum)
- New rec center will exceed LEED Platinum standards and approach net-zero energy use, even with two energy-intensive indoor pools and a hockey rink
University of Arizona (LEED Platinum)
- Rec Center features high-efficiency plumbing that reduced water use by 48%
- First LEED Platinum student recreation center in the nation
University of Texas
- Saves 3 million gallons of water each year thanks to artificial stadium turf
Environmental impact assessment.
The University is in the process of working with the State to hire an environmental consultant to perform assessments at each site. This process typically takes a minimum of three months and results of that study would be available toward the end of the spring semester, pending students’ support of the Master Plan. More fast facts about these assessments:
- As a steward of students’ money, Rec Sports does not intend to continue spending students’ money on a project until funding has been approved by students in the voting process
- Campus and Rec Sports will not move any plans forward that would be harmful to the environment
- Campus is already working with the state to initiate the environmental impact study and, should the referendum pass, these assessments are predicted to be released yet this semester
- The impact studies will guide all design and construction plans – any images and plans you’ve heard are conceptual and “best case scenario” for the programming needs of campus but Rec Sports is willing to be flexible in plans based on the study results
- The UBay fields are not included in the student vote in March and no funding is available to even begin this project – images and plans are conceptual and not formal design
- The alternative to passing the Master Plan in the March vote indicates an increase in segregated fees and less cost-effective, energy-efficient facilities
Sustainability efforts will not end once the facilities are built. Rec Sports will continue to pursue grants for sustainability projects to conserve water and energy. Our goal is to address the essentials of development today without compromising the needs of future generations.
Students may vote on the Rec Sports Master Plan as part of the ASM Student Elections on March 3-5. Elections will be held online (email to be sent out by ASM).
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.