Sustainability

The Learning Commons at Murray has been constructed with the goal of being a LEED Canada Silver certified project. Great care has been taken to reduce construction waste through reuse and recycling of materials, improving energy efficiency, choosing environmentally-friendly building materials, reducing water use, and choosing new materials with low or no harmful emissions. Demolition waste has been significantly reduced.

Energy Conservation

  • lighting

    Ceiling lights in the Learning Commons are activated by motion sensors. In addition, perimeter lights are controlled by photocells which adjust lighting levels according to the amount of light entering through the windows. On sunny days, the lights dim down automatically to conserve energy.

  • energy efficient equipment

    New equipment purchased for the Learning Commons is ENERGY STAR® certified wherever possible, which means it meets or exceeds stringent energy efficiency specifications.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • low-emitting materials

    Materials with low or no harmful emissions have been specified throughout this renovation, including sealants, paints and adhesives. Under the University's 'Green Cleaning Program', all cleaning products used on campus are non-toxic, emit little to no volative organic compounds, do not deplete the ozone layer, and are biodegradable.

  • daylight and views

    The Learning Commons was designed to maximize access to daylight, by placing the open seating areas around the perimeter of the space, close to the windows. This increases the productivity of those working in the space and conserves energy by reducing the need for artificial lighting.

  • green cleaning

    All housekeeping products used at the U of S are EcoLogoTM certified. EcoLogo provides third-party assurance that the products bearing the logo meet stringent standards of environmental performance. All cleaning products used on campus are non-toxic, emit little to no volatile organic compounds, do not deplete the ozone layer, and are biodegradable.

Waste Prevention

  • water efficient fixtures

    The plumbing fixtures installed in the Learning Commons will reduce water consumption by 30%. Water conserving fixtures include: dual flush valves on toilets, ultra low-flow urinals with motion sensors, hands-free motion sensor faucets and faucet aerators.

  • re-use and recycle

    Steel studs and electrical conduit removed during the demolition phase of the project were re-used in the construction of the Learning Commons. This contributed to an 82% diversion of construction waste from the landfill through recycling and reuse. The ceramic tiles used to repair the floor in this lobby were salvaged from the renovation of Place Riel, and the carpet tile used in the Learning Commons contains about 50% recycled fibre. The ceiling tiles contain a minimum of 78% recycled content, including old ceiling tiles. These measures reduce the use of virgin materials, diminishing the impact on the environment.

Resource Efficiency

Finish materials in the Learning Commons have been used sparingly, to reduce material consumption. Polished concrete floors, exposed concrete columns and exposed waffle slab ceilings require fewer materials for construction and will require fewer resources to repair. Using resources efficiently mitigates all environmental impacts associated with the manufacture and transport of more resource-intensive interior design approaches.

  • reusable and moveable walls

    Many walls are made with a pre-manufactured modular wall system. The wall panels are reusable and can be reconfigured as required. Modular walls will reduce the landfill waste associated with any future renovations of this space.

  • polished concrete floor

    As compared to installing a hard floor covering over concrete, restoring existing concrete to a polished concrete floor requires fewer material resources. Using resources efficiently mitigates all environmental impacts associated with the manufacture and transport of flooring products. In addition, polished concrete floors are very durable, eliminating future demolition or disposal issues associated with floor coverings. The maintenance of a polished concrete floor is very simple and does not rely on harsh chemicals.

  • rapidly renewable materials

    The use of materials derived from rapidly renewable sources reduces the depletion of non-renewable raw materials and long-cycle renewable materials.

    The hard floor coverings and tack boards in the Learning Commons are made of linoleum, the feedstock for which is flax, rather than petrochemicals. Flax is a rapidly renewable crop. In addition, linoleum is durable, with an expected lifespan of 40 years. Upon disposal it is bio-degradable, unlike petro-chemical based flooring products like vinyl.

Regional Manufacturing

Choosing products that are manufactured close to home reduces the energy resources consumed for transportation and supports the local economy. All millwork in the Learning Commons was manufactured in the Saskatoon region.