I wrote this article originally for the Hilltop Views.
St. Edward’s University has made concerted steps towards a more energy-efficient campus over the past few years, and the renovations
on Doyle Hall have been especially environmentally conscious.
Doyle Hall is being renovated and expanded in order to accommodate more classrooms, as well as offices for faculty and staff. The
university site says that renovations of existing buildings, such as Doyle Hall, allow the university to repurpose an existing building and
prevents existing building materials from going into a landfill. Most of the building’s shell and interior walls will be reused, including
existing clay tile walls, concrete structure and roof, light fixtures and floor finishes.
In order to preserve St. Edward’s heritage, the university has secured notable architects to help renovate older campus buildings, as opposed to simply tearing them down. Not only does this move maintain the campus’ traditional aesthetic, but keeping older buildings like Doyle Hall and opting for renovations helps the university go green.
St. Edward’s Physical Plant Project Manager Saleem Jehangir says that the most important green step taken in the renovation of Doyle was reusing building materials and simply demolishing the building and starting from scratch. “Although the reuse of Doyle was extremely challenging from a design standpoint, given the low ceilings and beam depths, the quantity of energy and materials saved was substantial.”
Samara Spence of the Benz Resource Group, which is working with St. Edward’s on the renovations, says the architects and contractors took several steps to improve the sustainability of Doyle Hall. These steps included focusing on four key parts: the sustainability of the site, materials and resources, indoor air quality, and energy performance improvements.
To keep the site sustainable, existing Cedar and Oak trees were left untouched. In addition, the addition to Doyle Hall was designed as a
dense two story structure to minimize impervious cover and compliment the existing architectural character.
St. Edward’s made a resolute effort to reuse as much of the existing building materials as possible. The university’s Web site says that
renovating outdated buildings helps reduce costs and cut down on waste in the landfill. “St. Edward’s is helping reduce negative impacts on the environment by implementing sustainable design principles. Whenever possible, the university reuses existing materials, such as
carpets, to minimize waste.”
In terms of increasing the quality of the air indoors, all paint used in the project is low VOC (volatile organic compound), which is meant
to reduce air-born toxins in the building. Also, sealants and construction adhesives are low VOC.
One of the most important aspects of the renovations of Doyle Hall regarded energy efficiency. New double-paned windows with low-e
coated class are being installed in the building. The new roof with be a white TPO roof, which is a reflective material that minimizes the
heat gain on the roof surface. Also, new roof insulation will be installed.
Other additions meant to improvement energy performance include sun shade systems to control direct sun exposure into the building,
occupancy sensing lights that will turn off when nobody is in the room, energy efficient fluorescent lighting, and a more energy efficient HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling) system.
Jehangir adds that the lighting in Doyle Hall will feature low wattage fixtures. “Maximum lighting power consumption is one watt per square foot.”
He also mentions that construction waste recycling has been instituted and many recyclable or re-processed materials have been specified, such as the cementitious cladding and aluminum windows.
The building isn’t the only aspect of Doyle Hall that is getting an environmentally friendly facelift. St. Edward’s is enhancing the landscaping, adding more trees, plants, fountains and shaded seating around campus. At Doyle Hall, the university’s plans are to include
colorful native plants like Monterrey oaks and mountain laurels to shroud the nearby parking lot and road.
The hall was named after Mrs. Mary Doyle, who left most of her 498-acre South Austin farm to the Catholic Church to establish an
“educational institution.” Three years after the passing of Mrs. Doyle, Father Sorin founded what was then called St. Edward’s Academy.
Doyle Hall opened its doors to its residents in 1960. The residential hall has since served as a male-only hall, a female-only hall, and a coeducational hall.