Article Photo

Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center


Article Photo

The 2006 Institute for Design Engineering and Applications project fair was held in the new Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center in March.

Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center
achieves “green” status

The new Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center recently received silver-level certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System®. The building is the first at Northwestern specifically built to obtain certification in environmental sustainability, and Northwestern has adopted a policy targeting LEED certification for all future buildings.

Just south of the Technological Institute, the six-story, 84,000-square-foot building is the focal point for McCormick’s initiatives in design education — including the Engineering Design and Communication (EDC) program for first-year undergraduates.

To keep energy costs down, the building’s design provides natural daylight to more than 75 percent of the interior spaces, even though two of the six floors are below ground. In addition, an automated solar tracking system closes window shades in the face of direct sunlight and opens shades in areas facing away from the sun. An innovative raised-floor system provides more precise temperature control for the building’s occupants, resulting in more efficient heating and cooling of interior spaces.

Many of the materials used to construct the building — such as steel, glass, concrete, carpeting, and ceiling-tile materials — have recycled content. Additionally, the building’s design incorporates effective collection, storage, and management of recyclable materials.

The building’s exterior features a number of measures that minimize its impact on the surrounding environment:

• A light-reflective roof reduces the “heat island” effect of the building on the site.
• Exterior lighting illuminates the ground but not the surrounding sky, reducing urban light pollution near the Univer­sity’s historic Dearborn Observatory.
• A specially integrated retention basin, located beneath the building, captures groundwater that is used to irrigate the surrounding landscape and the historic Shakespeare Garden to the east. Any excess is returned directly to ground­water rather than to the city sewer system.

The University engaged a team of experts in environmentally sustainable building design from the Rocky Mountain Institute in Snowmass, Colorado, to review design constraints and recommend ways to achieve certification from LEED, part of the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition, the building committee worked closely with the Garden Club of Evanston, whose members are the caretakers of the Shake­speare Garden.

In addition to EDC, the McCormick programs now housed in the center include the Institute for Design Engineering and Applications, the Walter P. Murphy Cooperative Engineering Education Program, a portion of the electrical engineering and computer science department, the civil and environmental engineering department’s Infrastructure Technology Institute, and three professional master’s degree programs: the Computational Biology and Bioinfor­matics Program, the Master of Product Development Program, and the Master of Management and Manu­facturing Program. (The latter is run jointly by McCormick and the J. L. Kellogg School of Management.)

Ford Motor Company donated $10 million toward the new building. Other corporate donors include ITW, Deere & Company, 3M, and Steelcase. The building was designed by the archi­tectural firm of Davis Brody Bond of New York, and Turner Construction Company was the general contractor.