Micron Business and Economic Building Green Features

Geothermal Hot Water Heating and Snow Melt

The building is heated with 165°F water delivered from the City of Boise’s geothermal hot water system. By using this natural resource our building eliminates over 90% of its annual natural gas use. The heat in the water not used for heating the building—basically free heat—will be used to melt snow on the main entries and courtyard.

Frictionless Water Cooled Chiller

Our water-cooled chiller uses magnetic bearing technology. The magnetic bearing compressors eliminate the friction of a traditional chiller—increasing the overall efficiency of the cooling system and eliminating noise. The chiller has a variable frequency drive to allow the system to adjust the speed of the compressors to match the load of the building without wasting energy. By using magnetic bearings, oil is no longer required in the compressor which reduces the maintenance requirements of the chiller and the disposal of the hazardous waste oil.

Active Chilled Beams

An active chilled beam induces room air through a cooling coil to temper the space. This technology transfers less efficient air delivery to more efficient water delivery systems which results in a 75-80% fan energy savings and lowers the overall energy consumption of the building. In addition, the active chilled beams use a warmer chilled water temperature which allows the use of the free-cooling water-side economizer for more hours in a typical year. A chilled beam also uses lower heated water temperatures which reduce the amount of geothermal water the building requires.

Green Roof

On the wings of the building, 5,120 sq. ft. have a green roof system. Hearty native ground cover grows in
trays with 6″ of soil. The green roof reduces the load of storm-water into the drainage system and reduces
the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. The living roof requires little water, is mowed once a year in the fall and is dormant in the winter.

Solar Panels

Solar panels were installed atop the Skaggs Hall of Learning in December, 2015. The panels have the capacity to produce 25 kilowatts of power per day — the equivalent of energy used by about five households.

Low Emissivity (Low-E) Glazing

The windows have very thin metallic coating – low E glazing, that greatly increases the performance of the glass. Using low-e technology helps reduce energy consumption by reducing the amount of heat that is lost through the glass during the winter months and blocks up to 90% of the long-wave (heat) radiation from entering the building in the summer months.

Building Automation Controls

All the heating, ventilating, cooling (HVAC) systems and lighting in the building are controlled and monitored by a building automation system. The building automation system resets temperatures during unoccupied and

standby modes, adjusts the central heating and cooling plant for maximum efficiency, and utilizes an adaptive learning function based upon weather patterns for optimal startup of the building. Automated lights turn on during occupied hours and ensure that the lights will be off during unoccupied times. The classrooms, meeting rooms, conference rooms and lecture hall have an occupancy sensor automation system which incorporates a standby mode. When no one is present in a room, the fresh air ventilation is turned off and the temperature is reset by 2°F reducing overall energy use. 

High Degree of Natural Light and Energy Efficient Fluorescent Lighting

Through the use of modern fluorescent ballast technology and design simulation the placement and quantity
of light fixtures were designed to achieve a savings of 32% vs. the code lighting requirements. This equates to 47KW in energy savings on the lighting, which is enough to power three single family homes.

Low Flow Plumbing Fixtures

The plumbing fixtures throughout the Micron Business and Economics Building are designed with low flow technology. By using low flow fixtures this building will use 15% less water than a traditional educational building in a typical year.

Recycled/Recyclable Building Materials

The reduction, salvage and recycling of construction waste and the use of building products that utilize recycled content are all recycling strategies that were utilized in the building of the Micron Business
and Economics Building. During the demolition of the old University Inn, we recycled 720 tons of material. During construction we salvaged and/or recycled at a rate of 50 percent by weight of total non-hazardous solid waste generated by the work. Whenever possible we used materials that contain recycled content such as the building’s structural steel and interior finishes such as carpet and acoustic wall panels.

Energy Recovery Ventilation

The ventilation air for the Micron Business and Economics Building is tempered through the use of energy recovery wheels. The exhaust air from the building passes through the energy recovery wheel transferring up to 75% of its energy. That energy is then shifted to the outside air being brought into the building without the two air streams coming in contact. The energy recovery system reduces the size of the central heating and cooling systems and reduces the overall energy use of the building.

Water-Side Economizer

When the outdoor temperatures are below 75° to 80°F the building will use a free-cooling water-side economizer. The water-side economizer uses evaporative cooling through the cooling tower to provide cool water for the building’s mechanical systems. When the water-side economizer can be utilized it will use 80% less energy than the buildings chiller.

Variable Speed Pumps/Fans

The major pumps and fan systems in this building are equipped with variable frequency drives (VFDs). The VFDs adjust the speed of the pumps and fans to match the building load. Since a typical building operates
at partial heating and cooling loads over 95% of the year, VFDs provide significant energy savings.

High Performance Wall System

A high performance wall system reduces the amount of energy that is required to meet heating and cooling loads. Our building’s exterior wall system utilizes a cavity wall that is two walls separated by an air space.
The interior wall is filled with batt insulation with an additional layer of rigid insulation on the cavity side
and is covered with a fluid applied air barrier that reduces leakage. The exterior skin of brick, precast and sandstone makes up the exterior wall and is separated with a 2″ air space.

*Boise State has chosen to not to pursue LEED certifications in favor of Energy Performance Modeling design, establishing our guidelines to exceed ASHRAE 90.1 and International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) energy performance criteria.  We’ve chosen to meet or exceed the LEED criteria while foregoing the actual certification due to certification fees.