Davies Center’s building management system ensures the conservation of as much energy as possible. The computer-controlled system makes it possible to control the lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation of the entire building from a central location. During cold months, the heat exchange system uses heat from the heating system’s exhaust line to preheat the incoming air. The system works in reverse during the summer, cooling the incoming air. This heat exchange system reduces costs for climate control in Davies Center, which also shrinks our carbon footprint. Occupancy sensors located in each room turn off lights when the space is unoccupied for some time.
In total, Davies Center is designed to consume 30 percent less energy than the standard State of Wisconsin building codes require.
The large windows on Davies Center’s north side admit as much sunlight as possible, lessening the need for additional lighting during the day. The lighting in these areas is controlled so that when there is enough natural light, the electric lighting automatically dims. This prevents wasted lighting expenses and also overlighting, which can add to human stress and fatigue. This design feature influenced decisions all the way back to the initial building layout, because it is desirable to orient the large windows to the diffuse ambient light of the north rather than the direct sunlight to the south. This simultaneously emphasizes year-round natural lighting and minimizes the impact of glare and unwanted summertime heating.
Like virtually all exterior lighting on campus, all of Davies Center’s exterior lighting is light-emitting diode, or LED. These fixtures are ideal for outdoor lighting because they efficiently direct the lighting only at the desired area and eliminate night-sky light pollution. The exterior is better illuminated with a clear white light rather than the yellow of standard sodium-vapor lights. LED uses one-third to one-half the energy of traditional lighting, saving $60 to $100 per year per fixture.
Converting from traditional to LED exterior lighting was made possible campuswide during the 2012–2013 year with support from student segregated fees allocated by the Student Office of Sustainability. The conversion saves money over the lifetime of the lights, cuts greenhouse gas emissions, and reduces the labor and waste from the replacement of shorter-lived high intensity discharge light bulbs.
LED lamps are also used in several rooms inside Davies Center — The Cabin, Alumni Room, Chancellors Room, and the Dakota and Ojibwe Ballrooms. These bulbs have lifetime of 25,000 hours compared to 10,000 hours for a similarly performing compact fluorescent lamp. With 266 of these bulbs — each of them nine watts more efficient than the CFLs — Davies Center will save at least 2,400 watts of electricity while they are all on. The LEDs are also completely dimmable, allowing for better lighting control, and they have a much warmer color temperature than CFLs, better complementing the chandeliers in which they are installed. LED accent lighting can been seen throughout the building interior — in The Cabin, Marketplace, Media Lounge, and above each of the fireplaces.