The University of New Mexico (UNM) campus spends millions of dollars to make sure it’s more energy efficient. UNM provides eco-friendly buildings on campus to save energy and provide cleaner living for faculty, staff and students. There are a few buildings on UNM campus that are considered eco-friendly. These buildings reuse the heat that each building provides due to solar power. This is one of the ideas behind eco-friendly structuring onto campus.
Linda McCormick, resource and conservation manager, said most of the campus’s use of energy comes from the upkeep of buildings.
“Eco-friendly buildings on campus are definitely a priority at UNM, most of our energy usage and wastage is a result of heating and cooling buildings,” she said.
Development of the energy saving buildings has been a plan at UNM for some time. The 10-year plan is a monumental part of construction at UNM. The 10-year plan, a.k.a. the Master Plan, is a framework setting to move the university forward step by step. One of the main criteria for the Master Plan is the construction at UNM. Constructing more energy-efficient and environmentally-conscious buildings on campus are some goals for the Master Plan project.
Mary Kenney, of the planning and developing department, pointed out the structure of the buildings and how they’re structured is an essential dynamic of the energy efficiency.
“We start out on the initial stages and ensure that were budgeting properly and then designing the building appropriately,” she said. “UNM wants to take advantage of all the different modalities that are necessary to achieve this particular standard -- energy efficiency is a big one.”
In 2006, the Governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson gave an executive order mandating all state buildings that were being constructed would become Leed “Silver” certified. Leed is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. Leed certification rates a building based on various factors pertaining to sustainability, energy efficiency and green building.
Schools like New Mexico State University (NMSU) have also started construction on energy-efficient buildings. NMSU’s website stated The Climate Action Plan is a format from NMSU to design and construct new buildings that meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s guidelines for Leed “Silver” certification. Since 2009 NMSU started construction on three buildings: Gardner Hall, football coaches office building and the addition to Health and Services Building.
Danny Weiner, anthropology major at UNM, said it’s important UNM is aware of how much energy is wasted.
“Energy is something that shouldn’t be wasted. We should take care of the world around us and should be conscious of what were actually doing every day,” she said.
UNM has several buildings on campus that are considered more eco-friendly. Kenney said there are numbers of items that go into consideration when these buildings are made. The Science and Mathematics Learning Center, the addition to the College of Education, Castetter and Domenici Hall have been some of the few buildings that are Leed certified on campus.
“We consider items, such as is a carpet tile recycled?” she said. “All of these things gain points, but, more importantly, they gain a sustainable building, and, frankly, that’s the most important component of this.”
The buildings are at an estimated cost of $16 million. According to Linda McCormick, taxpayers will still be saving money in the long run for energy that’s been wasted in the past on cooling and heating buildings.