Klarcheck Information Commons
About the Building
The Richard Klarchek Information Commons opened in January 2008. This building is a digital library where students come to study. It operates 24 hours per day during weekday hours and is open during the day on weekends. It houses over 225 computers and over 50 circulating laptops.
The large pane glass walls provide an aesthetically pleasing view of Lake Michigan. SCB Architecture worked closely with Transsolar and Elara Engineering firms to make sure the building maintained thermal and visual comfort while consuming a minimal amount of energy. The Information Commons is LEED Silver certified.
The east and west walls are made of a double pane glass that permit and restrict airflow throughout the builing at certain outdoor temperatures. This system of airflow and temperature control reduces the IC's energy use by 43% from the 2001 ASHRAE Standards. The IC does not require air conditioning to maintain a comfortable internal environment for temperatures ranging from 55 to 68 degrees Farenheit. The east windows will open or close to maintain a draft within the building. Also, they will close when humidity reaches a certain point.
The large pane glass walls provide natural lighting during daylight hours and reduce the need for artificial lighting and heating within the building. People generally tolerate lower levels of natural light more than they do artificial light. The blinds open and close automatically when heat and light levels reach a threshold level. They also redirect solar radiation from the building.
Radiant concrete slab ceilings provide thermal mass that cools the building in the summer and heats the building winter. Pipes run fluid through the concrete slabs that heats or cools them depending on the building's needs. The warm or cold slabs give off or take in heat, cooling the building very effectively.
The IC also has a green roof that redirects rainwater into Lake Michigan.