December 21, 2020

New sustainability features in Parrington Hall remodel

Parrington Hall’s remodel has brought the building up to date to create a better learning and working experience, creating and innovative and inspiring environment for students, faculty and staff.

The work also made Parrington Hall a much more sustainable space – watch this short video about the incredible sustainability features of the building. The renovated building is expected to earn a LEED Gold certification for features such as energy efficiency and material reuse.

Parrington Hall Sustainability Features

Parrington Hall was originally built in 1902. While the remodel modernized the building, much of the history remains. By renovating instead of constructing a new building, the project lowered the embodied carbon involved (Embodied carbon is the sum of all the greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the mining, harvesting, processing, manufacturing, transportation and installation of building materials).

In addition to keeping the building’s exterior, interior walls were kept or reused where possible. Walking into the building, you’ll notice some original steel columns exposed, as well as the original 1902 brick walls along the edge of the main space.

Other reclaimed materials were used whenever possible. The wooden stair treads were reclaimed lumber from the original 520 floating bridge. Flooring throughout the building is reclaimed end-grain wood. Reclaimed fir shiplap lines the walls. The main entrance is illuminated with the original decorative chandelier, and inside the entrance are feature walls of marble which originally served as dividers in the bathroom.

Some of the most sustainable features aren’t visible at all. There is insulation behind the walls and ceilings for the first time, reducing energy consumption. Low-flow fixtures will reduce water consumption. LED lights, much of it with automatic on/off switches, along with more natural light will lower energy use.

The building is now connected to the UW’s chilled water system to cool the classrooms and fourth floor for greater comfort, but most of the building will utilize ceiling fans and window shades for efficient cooling. Refillable water bottle stations are located on each floor to encourage reuse, and a new shower room will serve students, faculty and staff who commute by bike.

Sustainability isn’t only about construction. Much of the furniture in the building, including conference tables, is reused instead of buying all new. Eventually, two benches will be added which are being constructed with wood from a large maple tree which needed to be removed outside Parrington a few years ago. The Campus Salvage Wood Program stored and dried the wood to create the live-edge benches.

For now, most of us will need to experience the renovation features virtually. When we are able to return to the building, take a moment to appreciate all the touches which went into making Parrington a modern and sustainable space.