IT News & Events

News about IT at Indiana University and the world


Cyberinfrastructure Building earns top marks for energy efficiency

The Cyberinfrastructure Building (CIB) earns Gold certification from the US Green Building Council.

BLOOMINGTON, Ind.  – The Cyberinfrastructure Building (CIB) is the first building on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

The 123,000-square foot CIB is home to the majority of University Information Technology Services (UITS) staff at IU Bloomington, and replaces the former Wrubel Computing Center. A focal point of the university's expanding technology park at 10th Street and the 45/46 Bypass, the CIB is a highly visible model of the university’s vision for a carbon-neutral campus and environmentally sustainable land use. The CIB is built on an open-office plan to support the team-based, collaborative work-style of IU’s IT staff.

"The CIB represents a new direction for future construction at Indiana University," says Vice President for Capital Planning and Facilities Tom Morrison. "Completed on time and within budget, it reflects the university’s commitment to responsible stewardship and energy conservation. With its efficient and flexible space utilization scheme, the CIB provides a highly adaptable environment that supports the collaboration and community essential to an IT organization that is integral to every aspect of the university."

Reflecting the university's commitment to sustainability

To achieve LEED certification, projects fulfill USGBC prerequisites and earn points by meeting green building requirements in such areas as energy performance, efficient use of water, minimized impact on ecosystems, sustainable building materials, and waste reduction. The design of SmithGroupJJR and associate architect RATIO Architects, the CIB incorporates environmentally conscious principles and practices that reflect the university’s commitment to sustainability and the needs of a 21st-century IT workforce.

Says SmithGroupJJR principal architect Robert Bull, a LEED Accredited Professional, "The design of the Cyberinfrastructure Building promotes many advanced and innovative environmentally sustainable strategies that are embedded within its design and integral to its aesthetic. The passive solar shading and daylight harvesting system that defines the exterior facades minimizes the energy needed for cooling and lighting, while also establishing a unique and distinctive appearance. The landscape setting is populated by native plantings and is complemented by a network of picturesque rain gardens that manage storm water surges and minimize the facility’s burden on the local storm water infrastructure."  

Designed to meet a minimum of Silver LEED certification (50 LEED points), the CIB achieved a total of 74 points, just six short of the top rank of Platinum and 14 over the minimum for Gold LEED, making the CIB the university’s greenest building to date. In early April the USGBC completed the CIB’s LEED Construction Review and awarded the project 71 points. The university appealed three denied points and prevailed, and in July the CIB received its final score of 74. 

"It is fitting that the CIB is IU's greenest building and is so innovative in multiple ways," says University Architect Robert Richardson. "The concept was to build a totally innovative structure that celebrated a strong sense of community and interaction between all IU and UITS staff, visitors, and the public alike, while being very efficient in space-saving techniques, and doing it in a way that not only respected the environment but capitalized on all the cutting-edge strategies of energy conservation and flexible climatic design and control."

Earning points with innovative design details

The CIB LEED credits include innovation in design, sustainability, water efficiency, optimum energy performance with a cost saving of 28%, and interior environmental quality. Details of select features follow.

  • More than 25% of the building materials used in construction were manufactured from recycled materials, and 92% of the on-site construction waste was diverted from landfill. Inside the building a recycling program handles cardboard, metals, paper, plastic, and glass.
  • Contributing to improved indoor environmental quality are low-emission construction materials such as paints, adhesives, sealants, paints, flooring, composite wood and agrifiber products, and lighting and thermal comfort systems that building occupants can control.
  • A white rubber rooftop membrane reduces heat absorbed by the building. Prominent exterior louvers and interior sunshades shield the building from excessive heat gain and block or capture light according to seasonal needs.
  • Rooftop solar water panels heat water used in the building.
  • Water-efficient landscaping with hardy native plants obviates the need for a permanent irrigation system. Innovative wastewater technologies include a rain garden and landscape feature called a bioswale, which together reduce the volume of wastewater and filter runoff before it enters the storm sewer system.
  • The CIB reduces use of potable water by 43% from a calculated baseline through use of low-flow water closets, urinals, and showers.
  • The building supports alternate forms of transportation with easy accessibility to public transportation. Bicyclists have indoor bike storage and changing rooms; low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles have preferred parking options.
  • The CIB offers an onsite public education program with signage and guided tours that highlight green building and construction features.
  • The CIB also received credits for enhanced commissioning, that is, reviewing the design before it was complete, reviewing contractor submissions for energy-related systems, inspecting those systems within 10 months of final acceptance, and developing a plan to resolve any outstanding issues.

The UITS Living Green Team, one of several self-selected teams of UITS staff, collaborated closely with the design and construction team to ensure that the CIB attained the maximum possible LEED points. To see that green construction met its stated targets, members even undertook such tasks as reviewing loads on power outlets. The team also advocated and put in place many green practices that, while not adding LEED credits, contributed to a more sustainable lifestyle within the CIB. Members conceived and managed a detailed system for transitioning the UITS community to a pared-down, close-to-paperless culture. The "Clear the Clutter" campaign comprised processes for recycling, scanning, and shredding thousands of pounds of paper along university policy and best practices in privacy and security. E-waste collection days are now routine for disposing of outdated technology, and a composting system is in place.  

Project lead and Deputy CIO in the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology Laurie Antolovic’ says, "I am deeply grateful to the CIB Living Green Team, whose dedication and advocacy helped the CIB attain LEED Gold certification. Their continuing engagement in green practices is bringing about a cultural shift within the CIB community."

Says IU Vice President for Information Technology and CIO Brad Wheeler, "The CIB points to the future of smart buildings at IU and beyond. The building's efficient approach to space usage follows the best practices of leading Silicon Valley and Indiana firms, while modeling sustainability through power savings, daylight harvesting, and other measures. It is enabling our aspirations for the highly mobile, team-oriented work of IT professionals. The design and build team and particularly Laurie Antolovic’ are to be highly commended for making countless decisions that turned a LEED Silver plan into more than Gold."

About LEED

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) green building certification system in 2000 as a voluntary, consensus-based, national system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED provides a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions. The LEED point-based rating system rewards commercial, institutional, and residential projects for “stellar environmental and health performance” under four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.