SONSCC in Houston

Photo of SONSCC in Houston, Texas
Photograph Wayne Lorentz

SONSCC
Official name:University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Nursing and Student Community Center
Formerly:Graduate School of Biological Science

Holcombe Boulevard at Bertner Avenue, Houston, Texas, Medical Center 77030


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This structure is an attempt by architects and engineers to produce a building that is both useful and low-impact. The philosophy is appropriate in two ways. First, it is a college-owned building, and college students are more likely to be environmentally conscious. And secondly, because it is part of the Texas Medical Center, an entity that exists to preserve life, not to pave it over. The designers of the building are using a number of interesting techniques to limit its impact. Among them: The use of ash waste from a coal-fired electric power plant instead of cement. The use of recycled aluminum. Instead of cutting down new trees, the wood will come from trees found at the bottom of the Mississippi River. Bricks from a demolished building in San Antonio, Texas. The building is designed to last at least 100 years and to be adaptable to changing needs. Taking these extra steps means an extra expense. For this building, it was about two percent, or $US1,140,000.00. In time, it is believed this cost will be recouped through lower energy and maintenance costs. This building could mark the start of an important trend for the area. The University of Texas has pledged to model future buildings on the sustainability of this one. We will see if other organizations choose to follow UT's example.

Quick Facts
Notes
    >12 September, 2001 - Groundbreaking.
    >20 March, 2003 - Topping out ceremony is held.
    >12 April, 2003 - The American Institute of Architects awards the University of Texas at Houston a citation for promoting green buildings.
    >The building previously on this plot of land was the Graduate School of Biological Science.
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