Reducing UConn’s Carbon Footprint

Laurel Hall, University of Connecticut

Storrs, Connecticut

The students, faculty, and staff arriving on UConn's Storrs campus at the start of the 2011-2012 academic year noticed several new classrooms and other learning spaces. Among them was the newly-constructed Laurel Hall, the University's first LEED Gold Certified building. Built on the site of UConn's demolished pharmacy building, the social sciences and classroom building features several environmentally-friendly design components that reduce operating costs, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and ensure a healthy working environment for occupants.


The academic building has two components: a one-story, copper-faced volume containing two large lecture halls, and a three-story brick volume with 17 high-tech classrooms. Each classroom differs in size, with smaller rooms seating about 25 students and others seating nearly 70. One of the new lecture halls seats 414 students and is currently the largest lecture hall on campus. The other seats 200.


BVH designed modern and energy-efficient heating, cooling, electrical, lighting, life safety and information technology systems throughout. All systems utilize the existing campus infrastructure, including the campus steam, chilled water, electric, water, fire protection, fire alarm reporting, and building automation systems.


To minimize the amount of mechanical equipment on the roof, BVH utilized the basement for a majority of the MEP and fire protection systems and components.


Laurel Hall incorporates many energy-saving features:

  • A green roof covers the lecture hall component of the building. Visible to students as they walk through the Classroom Building, the green roof reduces heating and cooling loads and reduces storm water run-off.
  • Bioswales collect storm water, allowing suspended solids to settle out.
  • Water percolates through the soil to recharge the water table.
  • Water-efficient features such as low flow valves and faucets reduce water consumption by an anticipated 48%.
  • The project is designed to exceed energy efficiency requirements by over 47% when combined with central plant efficiencies





Leers Weinzapfel Associates


Size / Cost

68,000 SF / $25.5 million






Connecticut Green Building Council: 2012 Alexion Award of Excellence


Connecticut Green Building Council: 2012 Honor Award, Institutional Category 2012



Mechanical, electrical, plumbing/fire protection and technology design