The First Green Law School in Michigan, United States by SHW Group

Thomas M. Cooley Law School is the nation’s largest private law school in the United States, measured by full-time and part-time student enrollment. Located in Michigan, on a wooded 67-acre site in Auburn Hills, the architectural design with 136,000 sq ft complex is now the First Green Law School in the state with the completion of its newest campus, designed by Berkley, Michigan-based SHW Group. Thomas M. Cooley Law School is slated to receive LEED certification in late 2009, making it the first LEED-certified law school in Michigan, United States.

Green Law School exterior facade building
The green building project encompasses the renovation of an existing 68,000 sq ft corporate training facility as well as the construction of a new 68,000 sq ft addition. Major components include complete wireless Internet access, two computer labs, a fully functional courtroom, a new law library, a full-service bookstore with internet cafe, and multiple large classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art, high-definition videoconferencing and high-quality, digital-sound recording systems, enabling students to download recorded class podcasts for later study.

Green Law School building exterior glass facade
The mechanical systems, lighting systems and environmentally friendly materials rejuvenated the facility while making major improvements such as minimizing energy consumption. Additional sustainable green design features of the project include: Reuse of the existing building and construction waste and use of specified recycled building materials; green roof made of a serum grass-like vegetation absorbs carbon dioxide and circa 60-100 percent of rain, enhancing insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs by 15 percent and reducing flooding risk; reflective white roof on the existing structure to reflect heat from the building to minimize the summer cooling load and reduce power usage; water-efficient landscaping and low-flow toilet and plumbing fixtures to conserve fresh water; automatic computer-controlled heating and cooling system to automatically dial down power usage when the buildings are not in use; preservation and use of existing natural lighting and the installation of lower-wattage lighting fixtures, in addition to the installation of automatic room sensors; low volatile organic compound paints, sealants, carpets and wood materials to greatly minimize toxic fumes emitted upon application and during building occupancy; use of drywall made from 98-percent synthetic gypsum created as a byproduct of power plants and two-percent recycled paper; and a recycling center is located within the building to further reduce landfill waste.

Green Law School interior design class room

Green Law School interior natural lighting with large window
“The idea was to convert a building that was essentially offline into an educational learning environment. While utilizing the existing shell of the building, we manipulated the interior environment to accommodate 21st-century learning.” said the project manager for SHW Group, Jim Chatas.

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