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Columbia University Northwest Corner Building, New York, United States

Monday 09 Jul 2012

Going for gold

Michael Moran 
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Award Entry

Arup helped Columbia University exceed its sustainability goals to achieve LEED Gold certification. 


Fume hoods are a major culprit in energy use, as they must be kept running continuously to provide safe breathing air. Arup helped specify high-performance, low-flow models.

A fast-response, variable air volume system throughout the building provides additional energy savings. The computer-controlled system monitors the air volume required, then adjusts the amount provided to ensure appropriate flow.

In chemistry labs, the system responds to changes in temperature and fume hood sash position. When the sash is open, it provides full flow; closed sashes receive minimal flow. In physics laboratories, which do not require fume hoods but house large amounts of heat-generating equipment, the sensors respond exclusively to temperature changes.

The design achieved a 15% energy reduction compared to a baseline design for the same lab program.


The building's daylighting controls conserve energy by reducing the amount of electric lighting needed (and cutting down on the air conditioning needed to counteract heat generated by electric lighting). Sensors arranged around lab floor perimeters, where glazing is present, operate perimeter light fixtures. When sensors detect adequate daylight levels in a specific area, they shut down or dim the relevant bulbs.

High-efficiency, low-energy lighting fixtures were specified throughout the building, with compact fluorescent lamps and LED fixtures in select areas. Occupancy sensors ensure that lighting is used only when needed.

These measures have resulted in a 25% reduction in lighting energy consumption over baseline.


Low-flow fixtures helped reduce water consumption by 36% compared to a baseline facility, with a 65% reduction in hot water use.


A measurement & verification system allows building operators to monitor water and energy performance, empowering them to continually make adjustments to achieve the desired results.


Key Facts

Status Completed 2010
Value 0(m€)
Were you involved in this scheme?
Arup (New York Office)

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