Renovations of Cunningham Hall improves energy performance


Cunningham Hall as it goes through renovations at Kent State Univeristy on Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

Tianyu Yang

Major facility repairs are nearing completion in Kent State’s Cunningham Hall that address the building envelope, life safety systems, HVAC system replacements and building electrical infrastructure systems.

The first phase of work, which includes a new ADA elevator and lobby addition, started last September. It was completed at the start of this semester.

Michael Bruder, executive director of facility, planning and design, said this renovation incorporated new energy-saving windows, which is a part of the university’s Energy Conservation Project.

The Kent Campus Energy Conservation Project enables Kent State to reach the 20 percent energy savings goal established in Ohio’s House Bill 251.

“We are replacing the old glass windows with the isolated polycarbonate unit that will be more energy efficient,” Bruder said.

Polycarbonate windows are glass made of polycarbonate plastic. The composition of polycarbonate creates properties that make it hard to crack, break or chip.

This increases the safety of building occupants from burglars, gunshots and hazardous outdoor weather.

Selected instruction laboratories were completely renovated. All the upgraded laboratories equipped with energy-saving windows from floor to ceiling.

Hannah Ratterman, a senior zoology major, said the new technology makes Cunningham Hall nice and more comfortable.

Melissa Davis, horticultural facilities director, said the visible classrooms can improve the learning environment, as well as enhance the safety.

“The light is going to be better, which will enhance the learning process,” Davis said, “If sometimes we have problems or serious incidents, you have a way to look out into the world and bring the world into the learning facility.”

This renovation also replaced all paper towels with energy efficient hands blowers.

“Paper towels can’t be recycled; By removing the additional paper waste, we are cutting down what is being put in the landfills,” Davis said, “The energy conservation is very mindful with (the) new additions.”

The green house also was included in the construction. During the remainder of renovation, the greenhouse will be kept closed.

“The original structure is half of century in age,” Davis said. “Many of the glass was damaged or cracked and many energy conservation upgrades were needed.”

The environmental control system will be implemented in the greenhouse as a part of the renovation and energy conservation project.

“Computer can control how the windows went off the heat, open and close, monitor exterior and interior temperatures, wind speed and intensity of light,” Davis said, “Prior to these energy upgrades, all of this was done manually.”

The entire renovation of Cunningham Hall is projected be finished by June 2017.

Tianyu Yang is the construction, building and grounds reporter, contact him at [email protected]