Sustainable Design Guiding Principles

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West Chester University is committed to creating a campus environment that is both sustainable, and actively improves the quality of life for its community. As noted in our Sustainability Plan, our University goals are to:

  • Minimizing the overall impact which our development and physical growth may have on the natural environment;
  • Providing optimal healthy interiors for our students, faculty, and staff; and,
  • Ensuring that our campus is energy efficient and will proactively generate cost savings over the course of our buildings’ life cycles.

A. WCU encourages its Design Professionals to conform to the following:

  • Reduce dependence on non-renewable resources by using appropriate recycled materials and by promoting adaptive reuse of existing structures
  • Reduce energy costs by promoting selection of locally manufactured or fabricated products and materials
  • Siting new structures mindful of orientation, shading and the effect on adjacent buildings and spaces
  • Minimize maintenance and operating costs by integrating innovative daylighting and building engineering solutions at project inception
  • Improve indoor environmental quality
  • Maximize building flexibility to satisfy the demands of current and future users
  • Reduce energy consumption of building and site systems (HVAC, hot water, and lighting) through the use of appropriate mechanical and construction technology (natural cooling, light recovery, passive solar design, etc.)

B. Design Professionals must have at least one LEED certified designer on the project team, who will lead the rest of the design team in addressing critical issues of high performance building principles as follows:

  • New build vs. adaptive reuse
  • Site selection, planning and design
  • Energy and water efficiency
  • Efficient and environmentally friendly materials
  • Recycling during and after construction
  • Building commissioning

C. The Design Professional will be required to submit a LEED certification checklist at each official submission stage of the design effort, whether or not the University has instructed the team to achieve an official LEED standard. In order to help designers consider various ways to achieve sustainable designs, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has developed “Guidelines for Creating High-Performance Green Buildings:

Unless otherwise directed by WCU, the Design Professional shall implement all new building designs to meet performance levels of LEED Gold at a minimum as the base design criteria. Regardless of the performance levels standards for the design, the University will be the sole determinant whether formal USG project certification will be sought.

D. Passive Design Strategies to be incorporated into the project design:

  1. The Design Professional shall promote concepts which optimize the building’s massing and orientation for passive conditioning, and take full advantage of daylighting and natural ventilation, to the greatest extent possible within the existing site constraints. Building orientation and programming of internal spaces shall respond to site solar conditions and prevailing winds as allowable.
  2. In the design of the exterior envelope, the Design Professional shall consider reduced window-to-wall ratios, higher insulation values, and greater air-tightness to help reduce energy load and improve occupant thermal comfort. To reduce conductive heat losses during the winter, the overall window-to-wall ratio for new construction projects should be below 40%, the maximum allowed under ASHRAE 90.1-2010. R-values for walls and roofs should exceed ASHRAE 90.1-2010 minimum requirements, with a target of R-20 - R-30 for walls and R-30 for roofs. New designs shall incorporate high performance glazing systems, assemblies with U-values at or below 0.25 and low Solar Heat Gain coefficients (SHGC) below 0.35 to reduce conductive heat losses in winter and preventing excessive solar gains in the summer.
  3. Ensure comfortable and dynamic indoor environments by utilizing strategies to improve occupant comfort. Design Professional shall incorporate thermal comfort standards outlined in ASHRAE Standard 55-2010; and, provide for maximum access to exterior views and useful daylight (75%) for regularly occupied spaces where occupants spend at least 1 hour.

E. The Design Professional shall use sustainable landscape design practices that create healthy and ecologically appropriate spaces, provide pleasant outdoor environments, reduce exterior lighting demand, embrace practices of material conservation, and minimize storm-water runoff and waste reduction associated with landscape and hardscape projects.

F. The University is committed to enforcing sustainable waste management on all projects and shall make every attempt to salvage and/or recycle as much non-hazardous demolition and construction waste as possible. We encourage the Design Professional to incorporate into the project manual a requirement of all contractors to develop waste management plans that results in end-of-Project rates for salvage/recycling of 75 % percent by weight of the total waste generated by the Project. This shall include salvage/recycling of the following waste:

  • Site-clearing waste
  • Reinforcing steel
  • Wood studs
  • Wood paneling/trim
  • Roofing
  • Windows/glazing
  • Acoustical tile/panels
  • Cabinets
  • Supports and hangers
  • Refrigerants
  • Lighting fixtures/ lamps
  • Switchgear and panelboards
  • Asphaltic concrete paving
  • Brick
  • Wood joists
  • Structural steel
  • Insulation
  • Metal studs
  • Carpet & pads
  • Plumbing fixtures, piping
  • Valves
  • Electrical conduit
  • Ballasts
  • Concrete
  • Concrete masonry
  • Plywood
  • Rough hardware
  • Doors, frames, hardware
  • Gypsum board
  • Demountable partitions
  • Sprinklers
  • Mechanical equipment
  • Copper wiring
  • Electrical devices

In addition, project specifications shall direct each Prime Contractor to salvage and/or recycle 100% of its uncontaminated packaging materials including paper, cardboard boxes, plastic sheet and film, polystyrene packaging, wood crates and plastic pails

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