Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

LEED® Tour of Lincoln Hall

students walk west just past Lincoln Hall's entrance

The renovation of Lincoln Hall is a sign that stewardship of the environment and energy savings is a top priority at UIC. This was UIC’s first project seeking LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification in 2010 and it has earned certification at the Gold Level under version 2.2 for New Construction. Lincoln Hall was renovated as part of a campus renovations program funded by the student maintenance fund assessment moneys (AFMFA) as well as institutional funds.

Lincoln Hall's Gold-level certification for New Construction (v2.2) was assesed on the US Green Building Council's five categories of sustainable design and construction: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and also extra points in the Innovation & Design category.

Throughout the renovation, a special effort was made to keep the symbolic architecture of Walter Netsch visible while simultaneously updating the building to provide a brighter and better learning environment for the students.  Netsch’s style can still be seen in the vertical emphasis on the geometry of the building, incorporated by the long slim windows.  He preferred to design a modern and more complex building, which can be seen in its originality in the 7-story Student Center East Tower in the background.

Full, bushy plants make up the bioswale near Lincoln Hall

Sustainable Sites

  • The project received points for community connectivity, access to public transit, and bicycle parking.  Nearly 86% of the building site that does not fall within the building footprint has been restored with native or adaptive species.
  • The landscaping outside the building incorporates native plants, as these plants are adjusted to the climate they will need less irrigation in the summer and will survive the harsh winters in Chicago.
  • Pebbles have been used as the topsoil for the planted areas; this allows more water to be absorbed into the sub soil layers and less puddles form on the top.
  • The shallow bioswale on the south side of the building captures and filters the stormwater run-off, helping to achieve the project’s stormwater management plan that results in at least a 25% decrease (rate and quantity) in runoff from calculated pre-project conditions.



sinks in the lincoln hall bathroom

Water Efficiency

  • All the fixtures that have been installed in the restrooms are automatic and/or low flow. Toilets are dual-flush.
  • Hand driers have also been installed instead of paper towels dispensers.
  • The project has reduced potable water use by 42% from a calculated baseline design through the installation of low flow urinals, dual flush water closets, low-flow lavatory faucets and automatic sensors.
solar panels on lincoln hall

Energy & Atmosphere

  • Due to the bright interior, only a limited number of lighting fixtures have been installed in the hallways.
  • The windows have a solar film with a high reflective factor, this reduces the amount of radiation from the sun that can enter the room. As a result, the windows are 40% more efficient than plain glass. In the summer this stops the room getting really hot- which in turns cuts down on energy used for air conditioning.  The window shades automatically adjust in line with the heat load from the outside (solar sensors and a building automation system control this). However the blinds can also be controlled by the lecturer. The blinds are programmed to reset at the end of the class hour.
  • The lights are high efficiency T-5, occupancy and daylight saving sensors and as with the blinds, they can all be manually adjusted.
  • All the lighting in the Oases of the building use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which were the most efficient type of lighting at the time of construction.
  • To reduce energy costs (and carbon emissions), a geothermal system of underground pipes utilize the near-constant underground temperature to reduce the need for extreme heating and cooling over the course of the year
  • There are 224 microinverters to create a 51.48kW photo-voltaic solar system on the roof offsetting roughly 14% of the building’s energy demand.
  • The roof has an SRI value of 102 for 100% of the roof surface, meaning that heat from the sun’s rays bounce off the building, helping with the urban heat island effect.
the hallway of lincoln hall

Materials & Resources

  • Natural linoleum called Maroleum has been used to floor the majority of the building.  This product is made from renewable resources such as linseed oil, cork and limestone dust, with the color provided by natural pigments.
  • The hallway work units/areas are all made from MDF (medium density fiberboard) and covered by a wood veneer.  These wood products are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified.  The FSC label provides a credible link between responsible production and consumption of forest products, enabling consumers and businesses to make purchasing decisions that benefit people and the environment as well as providing ongoing business value.
  • The doors are all made from FSC certified wood, grown in Wisconsin.
  • The flooring on the stairwells has been preserved from the original building.
  • Carpet squares have been used in the Oases; these tiles are manufactured from 100% recycled material and are 100% recyclable.
  • The whiteboards are made from 50% recycled material.
  • During construction, the project diverted 114.13 tons (81.278%) of on-site generated construction waste from landfill.
a classroom with table and chairs

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Wooden sound insulating boards have been installed to stop noise from each classroom carrying through the entire building.  If you haven’t walked through Lincoln hall yet, do! You will be surprised how quiet it is.
  • The ambient temperature of the building is 73˚F year round and this is controlled by thermostats in each room. When the thermostats detect a change in temperature it sends a signal to the heat pump to start the system and either cool or heat the building.
  • The project has provided direct access to outdoor views from 100% of all regularly occupied areas.
students sit on high boy tables and chairs in the lobby next to floor-to-ceiling windows

Innovation & Design Process

  • The Oasis has been created to provide students with places to interact, study, and gather between classes and during extended breaks.  These informal learning spaces were designed with an emphasis on improving lighting, acoustics, and ergonomics. In addition to providing new, contemporary furniture and finishes, each Oasis is adorned with artwork created by UIC Art and Design students and alumni.