Fostering Sustainability: Designing a Green Science Building at a Small Maine College

EPA Grant Number: SU831873
Title: Fostering Sustainability: Designing a Green Science Building at a Small Maine College
Investigators: Otto, William , Hostert, Ellen , Sprangers, Sherrie
Current Investigators: Otto, William , Choiniere, Ashley , Leach, Chris , Abelson, Elisa , Sullivan, Elizabeth , Hostert, Ellen , Baker, Emma , Beasley, Rebecca , Carter, Sarah , Gaudette, Shannon , Sprangers, Sherrie
Institution: University of Maine - Machias
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 30, 2004 through May 30, 2005
Project Amount: $6,623
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


The University of Maine at Machias is planning construction of a new science building to house programs in Biology, Environmental Studies and Marine Biology. The building will be designed to meet the LEED™ Green Building Rating System, focusing on reducing energy usage and greenhouse gas emissions. Other important LEED™ design considerations include reducing stormwater runoff, maximizing natural light and using environmentally friendly building materials, all while incorporating uniquely Maine features. Our remote location, cold climate, high heating and electricity costs, high transportation costs and the paucity of local contractors with expertise in this type of construction all add to the challenge of this project.


The undergraduate design team will investigate a variety of options in the design and siting of the building. Pilot projects will include investigating the feasibility of solar and wind power generation and the use of lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium augustafolium) on a green roof to reduce stormwater runoff and moderate temperature fluctuations in the building. The team will evaluate the feasibility of placing solar collectors over a parking area, incorporating a greenhouse for natural lighting and passive heating, using gray water for plants in the greenhouse, and supplementing campus meals with greenhouse-grown produce.

Energy sources, building siting, etc. will be evaluated by comparing construction, maintenance and energy costs with similarly-sized traditionally constructed projects and with the existing science building on campus. Implementation of the design will occur with the construction of an environmentally friendly building on the campus.

Expected Results:

The team will address the challenge of high energy costs via renewable resources. Reduction of greenhouse gases associated with current modes of electricity generation will be addressed. Reduced energy and maintenance costs will contribute to campus prosperity. Community prosperity will be enhanced by the reduction of stormwater runoff and the development of local expertise in meeting LEED™ Green Building guidelines. The incorporation of natural light and a greenhouse will contribute to the health and well-being of those who use the building and consume the produce.

The University incorporates its mission in all aspects of campus life. The design of the building will be incorporated into courses including Environmental Issues, Environmental Chemistry, Special Topics in Environmental Studies, and Facilities Design. To disseminate the results of the team's research, a decision matrix will be made available on the University's website, allowing other entities to evaluate the benefits of incorporating these projects into their construction.


Supplemental Keywords:

Northeast, sustainable development, cost-benefit, life-cycle analysis, renewable, waste reduction, and waste minimization, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Geographic Area, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, cleaner production/pollution prevention, Sustainable Environment, Energy, State, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, energy conservation, sustainable development, green design, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative building technology, emission controls, green home building, energy efficiency, engineering, solar power, Maine (ME), wind power, environmentally conscious design

Relevant Websites:

Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report