Certified as LEED Gold by the US Green Building Council, Knight Hall features 53,400 square feet of high-tech classrooms, multimedia labs, offices, and spaces for professional journalism centers. Green features of the building include:
- 97 percent of the waste generated during construction – soil, asphalt, concrete, etc. – was diverted from landfills and recycled.
- 31 percent of building materials were obtained from regional and local suppliers, reducing the amount of energy and cost required to transport material to the job site.
- 34 percent of Knight Hall’s building materials were from recycled sources.
- Considerably less energy is used on an average daily basis through shading devices and specialty glass that reduces solar heat and glare. The building is oriented for optimum natural daylight and solar control.
- 100 percent of the water needed for landscaping irrigation is supplied by a 10,000-gallon cistern under the courtyard that collects rainwater from the building site.
- 86 percent of regularly occupied spaces receive natural daylight and 92 percent of regularly occupied spaces have exterior views. Both of these factors contribute to energy savings.
- A 40 percent reduction in water use – compared to baseline standards – was achieved by using low-flow toilets and automatic sensors on faucets.
- A great amount of care was placed in selecting outside plant species that will survive and thrive in conditions with minimal maintenance, while providing functions such as shade and aesthetic value.
- All cleaning products meet the Green Seal standards for industrial and institutional cleaners. These do not contain environmental contaminants and mandate cleaning practices to improve indoor air quality for building occupants and staff.
The Knight Hall building site is estimated to reduce stormwater runoff by 27 percent compared with pre-construction conditions. This reduction was achieved by converting an impervious parking lot into a green building surrounded by green space and capturing the rain that falls on the site in a large cistern buried under the courtyard. This system collects rainwater from roof drains, channels the water through a high capacity filter in the courtyard, and stores it in an underground cistern. A drip irrigation system detects the amount of moisture in the soil so that plants are only watered as needed. When the irrigation system calls for water, pumps send water from the cistern through the irrigation system for distribution on-site. The cistern is sized to handle the average rainfall for the month of July (worst-case demand scenario). In addition to reducing the campus's use of potable water for irrigation, the quality of the stormwater runoff is also improved by filtering the water collected from the roof through the mechanical filtering provided by the capture system and the natural filtering provided by plants and other organisms in the soil.