The Green Renovation and Expansion of the Aiken Center: A Sustainable Green Building Design, Collaborative Planning Process and Long-Term Demonstration and Research Project

EPA Grant Number: EM833072
Title: The Green Renovation and Expansion of the Aiken Center: A Sustainable Green Building Design, Collaborative Planning Process and Long-Term Demonstration and Research Project
Investigators: Dehayes, Donald Henry , Hawley, Gary J. , McIntosh, Alan
Current Investigators: Watzin, Mary C.
Institution: The Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2009 (Extended to December 31, 2012)
Project Amount: $867,800
RFA: Targeted Research Grant (2006) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research


The Greening of Aiken building renovation and expansion will prove that a 25 year-old existing institutional building can be retrofitted and redesigned to provide a valuable example of innovative sustainable design and demonstrate energy and resource use efficiency, pollution reduction, and collaborative planning. The project will provide a living demonstration of sustainability to students, researchers and the University of Vermont and broader communities into the future. This project will be one of the first seeking platinum LEED certification that involves the renovation of an existing mixed-use building and will provide valuable data on building performance for researchers, teachers and the architectural and construction communities. The seven main objectives of the project are as follows: (1) quantify resource use loads in the existing Aiken Center; (2) identify greatest current resource uses and utilize modeling to determine efficiency pathways for the renovated/expanded Green Aiken Center; (3) utilize modeling and experimental test data to estimate the efficiency of alternative energy sources to better evaluate alternative energy as a contributor to the Green Aiken Center’s energy needs; (4) identify and install state-of-the-art high performance equipment and infrastructure to transform a sterile institutional building (existing Aiken Center) into an exciting, highly energy/water/resource efficient building that visibly teaches and demonstrates lessons of sustainability, answers research questions, and meets or exceeds platinum LEED requirements; (5) install numerous monitoring sensors in the renovated/expanded building to document performance of new vs. old materials and equipment; (6) conduct long-term building performance monitoring and compare to both pre-renovation performance and to similar modern conventional systems as well as to other Green/High performance buildings on a square-foot-for-specific–functional-use basis; and (7) involve and engage the entire Aiken community, especially undergraduate students and graduate students in all aspects of planning and implementation of all of the above objectives.


The experimental approach involves quantifying current resource uses in the existing Aiken Center and comparing these historical data to the performance of the renovated/expanded Green Aiken Center and other similar conventional and green buildings. This will be accomplished by the use of true-cost accounting modeling, which takes into account all environmental/societal costs (energy, resources, pollution, and recycling/disposal) involved in producing and using a product or material, and comparing existing materials and equipment to alternative types of high performance materials and equipment in the Green Aiken Center.

Expected Results:

One important outcome of this project will be the development of a long-term demonstration program that will provide teaching and research tools for many decades. In addition, we will develop models that will be available for others to use, present our findings to others, and are planning a book tentatively titled “The Greening of Aiken: Applying Ecological Design in a Participatory Learning Process”. We envision the Green Aiken Center becoming a nationally recognized example of how to build environmental efficiency into higher education programming.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

renewable energy, true-cost accounting, LEED certification, green renovation,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, Energy, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, sustainable housing, education, environmental sustainability, environmental conscious construction, green building design, energy efficiency

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007 Progress Report
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • Final Report