UNM Health Sciences Center is Seeing Green in Building Renovation

July 14, 2004

Contact:          Jennifer Riordan, 272-0261 office; 220-0702 cell

                        Allison Thompson, 272-3690 or

                        Bridgid Isworth, 272-3690


The University of New Mexico Speech and Hearing Sciences facility is undergoing a three-month renovation and 3,200 square-foot addition using an innovative "Green" design.

The new self-sustainable building will upgrade the existing 50-year-old facility that was formerly a residence before UNM acquired it in the 1970s.

The Green Building renovation will include the installation of a new ventilation system, as well as water-retaining ponds and natural lighting components. Furthermore, the renovation will provide handicap access and create additional testing rooms and faculty offices. 

Various sustainable attributes that will be applied to the facility include:

q     Use of recycled materials, such as carpet with a recycled content;

q     Rain gutters and downspouts designed to direct rain water to ponds, which are part of a landscape feature;

q     Skylights and interior sidelights used to provide natural day light, thus reducing energy use and increasing human productivity;

q     Multiple light switches to promote more efficient control of lamps and fixtures during the day;

q     Installation of operable windows allowing tenants fresh air;

q     Use of natural products, such as rubber and/or bamboos.

The facility, located on 915 Vassar, NE, houses the speech and hearing testing center and other administration offices within the UNM Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC).

Britton Construction is heading the construction of the "Green" savvy project, while Van Gilbert Architects will head the designing and planning process.

In 1993 the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was formed to promote the construction of buildings that are environmentally responsible and healthy places to work. Building "Green" is of primary importance to New Mexico because the buildings focus specifically on the conservation of water and water efficiency, preservation of materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. Green Buildings also consistently show a higher level of employee productivity.

The renovation of the Speech and Hearing Sciences building parallels the UNM HSC Facility Planning department's endeavor to establish an environment fit for solving the most important questions in human health.

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