Green Building in Education Construction: “The Wave of the Future, and It’s Here Now”

A rendering of how one of the buildings in Western Illinois University QC, Phase 2, will look upon completion.

Green Building in Education Construction: “The Wave of the Future, and It’s Here Now”


Green Plans Revealed for Phase 2 of Western Illinois University Construction Project IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – Bush Construction has been named as the general contractor for Phase 2 of the Western Illinois University Quad Cities (WIU-QC) Riverfront Campus in Moline, IL. According to Rob Davis, Bush Construction’s Project Manager for Phase 2, the contractor’s $29.5 million approved bid covers construction of three buildings. And like Phase 1, Phase 2 will be a green building project. “Bush Construction was the contractor for the first phase of the Riverfront Campus,” said A.J. Loss, President of Bush Construction. “Phase 1 serves as an excellent example of how an educational facility can save energy and protect the environment through a well-planned combination of green technologies. We are proud to have been selected by Western Illinois University for Phase 2.”

“Green building in education construction is the wave of the future, and it’s here now,” said Dr. Joseph A. Rives, Vice President of Quad Cities and Planning for Western Illinois University. “We are very pleased with the work that Bush Construction did on Phase 1. They brought us a LEED certified, environmentally friendly facility on-time and under budget.” Dr. Rives stated that the Phase 1 green building project has helped tremendously with student, faculty and staff recruitment. “Premier students want premier facilities,” he said, “and there’s no question – we have them.”

“For Phase 2, we are aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification,” Davis said. “Phase 2 will utilize a strong combination of environment-friendly green features.” Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is the world’s most widely used and recognized green building program. The LEED system is point-based, and the level of a LEED project – Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum – is determined by the number of points it has earned. A project can receive LEED points at various stages in its development, such as design or construction.

Phase 2 construction will feature classrooms, computer labs, science labs, offices and support space. The three buildings included in Phase 2 will house academic programs and services from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Education and Human Services, and Fine Arts and Communication. They will also include programs and services from the WIU 60th Street Campus in Moline, IL, including the library, classes offered through the Quad Cities Graduate Study Center, and WQPT-Quad Cities public television.

History of the WIU Riverfront Campus:

In 2003, John Deere donated its former Technical Center in Moline, including 20 adjacent acres along the Mississippi, to WIU-QC, to serve as the site of a new Riverfront Campus. WIU-QC determined that work on the campus would be completed in two phases. Jerod Engler of Bush Construction acted as Project Manager for the first phase. Phase 1 included the renovation of a two-story, 60,300-square-foot building, which houses the College of Business and Technology. This green building project consisted of partial demolition of the existing structure, multiple additions, and extensive remodeling. Phase 1 has received LEED Silver status. The second phase is now beginning, and like the building in Phase 1, the three buildings in Phase 2 will feature a modern steel and glass look.

“Phase 2 will continue with the same high standards as Phase 1,” said Bill Brewer, Assistant Director of Physical Plant, WIU-QC Operations and Maintenance. “Phase 2 will also maintain the strong commitment to environmental sustainability found in the first phase.” According to Brewer, completion of Phase 2 is anticipated in Summer 2014.

Green Features Planned for Phase 2:

In recent years, Bush has played a key role in numerous high-profile green building projects in the Iowa- Illinois Quad-Cities, including WIU-QC Riverfront Campus, Phase 1; Davenport Public Library, Eastern Avenue Branch; and the MetroLINK Transit Maintenance Facility, currently in progress. According to Davis, Phase 2 of Riverfront Campus will include numerous applications of green technology, including: Vegetative Roofing: Whether you call it a vegetative, green, or living roof, this form of sustainable technology is often what people think of first, when they consider possible green building features. A vegetative roof is partially or completely covered with vegetation and a growing medium. The greenery is planted over a waterproofing membrane, and the roof may also include additional layers, such as root barriers and drainage/irrigation systems. Vegetative roofs absorb rainwater, provide insulation, and also help lower urban air temperatures.

Geothermal Technology:

Geothermal systems use the Earth’s ambient, subsurface temperatures – a free, inexhaustible source of energy – to heat and cool buildings. The process employs a geothermal heat pump, which is a central heating/cooling system that pumps heat to or from the ground. It uses the earth as a heat source in cold weather, and as heat sink when temperatures rise. Geothermal technology substantially reduces the operational costs of heating/cooling systems. Enhanced Commissioning: Commissioning is the process of verifying, in new construction, that a building’s subsystems achieve the project’s requirements, as intended by the owner and as designed by the architects and engineers. These subsystems can include HVAC, plumbing, electrical, building envelopes, and more. The main goal is to maximize the project’s efficiency, from the design phase through post-construction and occupancy.


Daylighting is the practice of positioning windows or other building openings so that natural sunlight provides effective internal lighting. Energy savings are achieved through the reduced use of electricity and the warmth gained from solar heat. Artificial lighting use can be reduced through daylight harvesting – a process in which dimming/switching electric lights respond automatically to the presence of daylight.

Waste Management/Recycling:

When construction waste ends up in landfills, it increases the burden on landfill loading and operation. Whenever possible, it is best to minimize and recycle construction waste, demolition debris, and land-clearing debris – a process known as construction waste management. Specifications for the Phase 2 construction project stipulate that a minimum of 75% of construction waste will be recycled. “We look forward to working with WIU-QC again on Phase 2,” said Loss. “We commend them for their commitment to green building, and for providing a healthy environment for their students and employees.”