As construction continues at the Memorial Union, a project estimated to cost $53 million, sustainability and environmental efficiency are at the forefront of the company’s plans.

According to Boldt Project Director Melanie Taylor, this sustainability plan, known as “green construction,” is a system carefully developed throughout the renovation process. She said the plans for making the union more sustainable could be seen early on in the initial designs for the renovations.

Taylor said the green construction process starts by getting a certificate from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. According to the program’s website, LEED is an independent supervisory group in the construction of green buildings. Taylor said Boldt hopes to achieve a silver, or second level, certificate from this project.

Taylor also said she wishes to exceed the requirements that the silver certificate requires by asking employees to act in other environmentally conscious ways. She said one way Boldt does this is by asking construction workers to carpool to the site.

Green construction attempts to use as much of the waste or previous material from the current fixture as possible when making improvements, Taylor said. According to Memorial Union spokesperson Marc Kennedy, Boldt has recycled up to 95 percent of all materials removed from other parts of the building.

Kennedy said a key to the Memorial Union Reinvestment is to ensure the construction process is sustainable, and the building continues to be sustainable once it has been completed.

According to Kennedy, the new Memorial Union will also offer sustainable features in terms of heating and air conditioning based on the materials they are using in the construction process.

Taylor said Boldt has included these sustainable features in the design plan for the building. She said they plan to use volatile organic compound paint on the walls to make sure they are sustainable as well.

Boldt is currently working on the first phase of the restoration process which is in the west wing of the union, Kennedy said.

“That will be completed around mid-summer with the official grand opening of all elements of the west wing including the theater, the play circle theater, outdoors UW, the new main course area and craft shop area this fall,” Kennedy said. 

Correction, 1/28: The original version of this story ran with a rendering of the Sunset Lounge with an out-of-date caption. The rendering has since been removed.

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