New Business Facility Blends Instruction, Sustainability

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – University of Illinois business students will study this fall in a new, $60 million-plus building filled with high-tech classrooms, counseling and career services, and a state-of-the-art laboratory that simulates real-time market trading.

But officials say there’s also a lesson built into the earth-friendly design of the newly finished Business Instructional Facility, the first “green” building in the university’s 141-year-old history.

“We in the business school have always felt that what we do is not just about teaching different subjects,” said Avijit Ghosh, vice president of technology and economic development and a former dean of the College of Business. “Those are very, very important, but we also want our students to graduate with a perspective about their role and responsibilities in society.”

The building, encompassing about 160,000 square feet, seeks to ease the mounting load on the environment, with energy-saving features that include solar panels to help power the building, roof plantings that provide insulation and reduce water runoff, and a unique, energy-efficient heating and cooling system.

Combined, the measures could trim energy use by nearly 50 percent, officials estimate, cutting utility costs by up to $300,000 a year compared with traditional classroom buildings on the Urbana campus.

The building also will join just a select few in Illinois certified through LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a U.S. Green Building Council rating system that promotes sustainable development. A gold or even platinum rating