Sustainable Design in New Public Buildings and in the Renovation of Old Public Buildings

City of West Lafayette

Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments.

The City of West Lafayette is involved in two major building projects. The first is the creation of an indoor recreation and aquatics center on the city’s north end. The second project is the renovation of the existing community center, the Morton Center, which is currently housing West Lafayette’s city office as well.

The Council on Environmental Quality updated the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings (GPS) in 2016 which apply to existing buildings and new construction or modernization.  Federal agencies use the guiding principles to determine progress and compliance with the “green buildings” category on the annual Office of Management and Budget Sustainability/Energy Scorecards.  The student team will use the guiding principles as well as all available resources (LEED credits system, Green Building Upgrade Information Lifecycle Database system, etc.) to provide “green building” design options to the City and analyze the sustainability of the building projects.


The project is currently divided into two parts. One is to assist the West Lafayette Go Greener Commission with developing sustainable design guidelines for the new indoor recreation and aquatic center with a focus on water. The other part of the project is to assist the West Lafayette Go Greener Commission in recommending sustainable building standards to the city in the form of an ordinance. One major change to the project is that the Morton Center renovation is no longer included in our scope of work. 

 The main tasks related to the sustainable design of the new indoor recreation and aquatic center include researching regulated floodways as there is one present on the proposed aquatic center site. With this includes researching past projects that have dealt with this type of floodway. The client has talked about wanting educational features in the aquatic center with a theme of “A Celebration of Water.” Research is also being done on appropriate educational displays for all ages. Life cost saving considerations for the building will be shown through a cash flow diagram after drafting designs.   

The main tasks related to creating an ordinance include researching current building standards in West Lafayette and finding relevant examples of a Midwest city’s sustainable building ordinance that could be implemented in West Lafayette. Incentives for different building types (commercial, private market, municipal) will be considered as well. After completing this research, a draft ordinance will be developed for the Go Greener Commission’s approval.