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Ground Breaks On New Utah State University Campus: Net-Zero Energy

Tue December 01, 2020 - West Edition #25
Utah State University


Utah State University Moab’s campus building located south of the city of Moab will be a combustion-free, net-zero energy building, passively designed to harness southern solar energy through the use of thermal mass in the walls and floor.
Utah State University Moab’s campus building located south of the city of Moab will be a combustion-free, net-zero energy building, passively designed to harness southern solar energy through the use of thermal mass in the walls and floor.
Utah State University Moab’s campus building located south of the city of Moab will be a combustion-free, net-zero energy building, passively designed to harness southern solar energy through the use of thermal mass in the walls and floor. Not only will the building help locals and non-traditional students in south-eastern Utah continue their education, but it fits the highly sustainable environment that many locals maintain in Moab.

Construction for a new Utah State University building in Moab broke ground on Nov. 19, 2020.

USU's new academic facility in Moab is a combustion-free building that includes solar energy and highlights the beauty of southern Utah's natural landscape, according to the university's website.

Lianna Etchberger, the associate vice president of USU Moab, said this new campus building will help locals who would be unable to go to college so far away from home.

"It's really incredible to have in the state-wide system that we have to be at these places where folks, they can't just pick up and go to Logan," Etchberger said. "It's so important to be here and provide these opportunities to folks who can't just pick up and go."

Not only will the building help locals and non-traditional students in south-eastern Utah continue their education, but it fits the highly sustainable environment that many locals maintain in Moab.

"Moab is a green community; this community is very interested in being sustainable and responsible," Etchberger said. "And as I talk to folks like architects and other people about having a net-zero energy building is huge because most people don't want to put that money upfront."

Etchberger said it is USU's first net-zero energy building, meaning it generates as much energy as it consumes in a year. It will also include USU's largest solar array and ground-source heating and cooling.

"Utah State University Moabs new campus building located south of the city of Moab will be a combustion-free, net-zero energy building, passively designed to harness southern solar energy through the use of thermal mass in the walls and floor," according to the UVU web site. "Deep overhangs create a series of covered porches, allowing for indoor activities to spill outside. Students and visitors will enjoy a campus reflecting Moab's natural landscape, linking them to their broader ecosystem."

Building sustainability highlights include: 

  • USU's first net-zero energy building;
  • USU's largest solar array placed in parking canopies that double as parking shade structures;
  • Ground-source heating and cooling;
  • Reduced carbon footprint;
  • Designed to meet Silver-level LEED certification with enhanced energy performance;
  • PVC-free interior finishes, avoiding many red-list materials and incorporating healthier alternatives, such as red-list-free carpeting, mineral wood insulation, 100 percent recycled PET acoustic baffles, rammed earth real wood wall-coverings, minimal flooring (polished concrete throughout), low-VOC paint;
  • Water conservation measures including rain harvesting for permaculture gardens incorporating native plantings and low-flow, water-sense fixtures throughout;.
  • Biophilia focused, connecting people with nature by incorporating natural day lighting and views to the surrounding landscape throughout, as well as natural materials, patterns, textures, and colors in exterior and interior materials.

For more information and current updates of the construction process visit statewide.usu.edu/moab/newcampus.




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