In light of the increasing significance of environmental and ecological
programs in the new economy, the Arizona Board of Regents recently
established the interdisciplinary Center for Sustainable Environments (CSE)
at Northern Arizona University. The new Center serves as a catalyst for
many on and off campus projects, and has a direct and immediate impact on
the community and the regional economy.
Since its initiation, CSE has developed over twenty partnerships, and this
rapid expansion has created a need for additional research space on the
Northern Arizona University campus. Infrastructure needs include space for
developing applied research projects, as well as the technology and
infrastructure needed to disseminate environmental knowledge to the region
and the nation.
Given these needs, the administration at Northern Arizona University
developed a plan to design and build a unique building that would meet the
expanding research needs of the Center for Sustainable Environments and
its public and private partners.
At present, a budget of 18 million dollars has been earmarked for the
Applied Research Center’s design, construction, and furnishings. The
project will be funded from bonds that are supported by revenue from
proposition 301. Prop 301, a ballot referendum that increases educational
funding for public institutions in the State of Arizona, was passed in the
fall of 2000. Using these State funds as leverage, CSE will solicit
additional funding from private foundations and donors.
In order to showcase the environmental sensitivity of the Center and its
partners, the Applied Research Building will be designed and constructed
as a “high performance building” Sometimes called Green Buildings,
High Performance Buildings use state of the art technologies and processes
to reduce energy and water consumption, increase indoor air quality, and
minimize resource consumption. The Applied Research Building will be
designed to meet the LEED platinum standard, the highest sustainability
certification offered by the United States Green Building Council.
In April of 2001 a “Visioning Charrette” was held on the NAU campus to
establish goals for the Applied Research Building. The charrette was led
by one of the world’s leading green architects (Bob Berkebile, BNIM
Architecture, Kansas City) and was attended by over thirty campus and
community participants. During the charrette, specific goals were
established for the program, pedagogy, performance and public outreach of