Building Reaps Multiple Sustainability Honors
Recent Awards Bring Total to 5 Won by LEED Platinum Student Services Facility

The Student Services Building, the University’s “one-stop shop” for help on enrollment matters, financial aid, career services and more, has won a new sustainability award.

The building, which opened last fall, has now won five awards for its eco-friendly design.

The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), in conjunction with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), honored the structure’s design with its 2011 Innovation in Green Building award.

Designed With
Green-Friendly Goals

Student Services Building project goals and outcomes included:

  • Creating energy efficiencies to withstand extreme Texas temperatures. The system of “floating” terra-cotta louvers on the building’s exterior responds to the solar exposure, providing protection from the harsh Texas sun while reducing radiant heat gain.
  • Controlling light and solar heat gain while providing daylight to most interior spaces. About 76 percent of all occupied spaces are afforded natural daylight.
  • Achieving water conservation. The design incorporates water conservation measures ranging from automatic sensors in faucets to outdoor systems. When it rains on campus, water is collected in a two-tank, 40,000-gallon cistern to irrigate the SSB’s drought-tolerant landscaping.
  • Designing a space that “does less with more.” Sharing conference rooms and reducing the number of individual offices in the SSB allowed designers to dedicate 73 percent of the building’s space for specific service purposes. The remainder, including hallways and equipment closets, serves general operational purposes.

The inaugural award recognizes a college or university that is revisiting the way it develops its physical campus and examines how the school is using Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as a tool for campus greening.

“The University of Texas at Dallas is setting a powerful example of innovation in green building while promoting institutional change for the entire campus and serving as a model for how other universities can transform the built environment,” said Rachel Gutter, director of the Center for Green Schools.

Dr. Calvin Jamison, senior vice president for business affairs, called the project a model for University construction.

“The extensive student support we received to make this project green, combined with the collaborative approach to planning taken by the building’s future inhabitants, allowed the project team to create the facility for which we enjoy recognition today,” Jamison said.

The four-story, 74,000-square-foot LEED Platinum Certified building houses 14 departments under one roof. SSB construction finished $1.1 million under budget, and it is the first LEED Platinum facility in The University of Texas System. AASHE and USGBC cited the project’s “strong community engagement” and “ideal space utilization” as outstanding aspects leading to the win.

Rick Dempsey, associate vice president for business affairs and the facilities management and campus sustainability officer, says teamwork on the part of the University, architect and contractor was a key factor in making the new building a sustainability success.

“The Student Services Building was constructed to satisfy our needs for centralized student services and provide new space to support growth,” Dempsey said. “But by taking into account environmental considerations and future operational costs, the building exceeded our performance goals and has allowed us to envision new ways of creating sustainable new space on campus.”

SSB occupant Greg Morris, who moved from Hoblitzelle Hall to the LEED Platinum facility, calls the building “clean and sleek.”

“When going eco-friendly, people assume you have to give up a lot,” Morris, assistant provost for enrollment management, said. “Working in the SSB has proven the opposite. We now do things a bit differently in SSB, but the quality of our work experience has remained consistent, if not improved.”

The building is designed to be certified as LEED Platinum, the highest energy-savings rating available.


Building's Award Tally Grows to 5

Open for a little more than a year, the SSB has won a total of five awards for its eco-friendly design:

2011 Judge’s Choice Award for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (College Planning & Management magazine, November 2011)2011 Innovation in Green Building award (AASHE, USGBC, October 2011)2011 Green School Award in the Higher Education category (U.S. Green Building Council – Balcones chapter, October 2011).Green Project Award of Merit (ENR Texas & Louisiana magazine, October 2011).Public Green Deal of the Year (Dallas Business Journal, February 2011).


The artfully designed façade makes the building appear to float when viewed from various vantage points.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].