Fall 2012News

‘Green’ Roberts Hall opens with solar flair

Roberts Hall opened in August as the new home for 170 upperclassmen. UIndy’s seventh residence hall, located on Hanna Avenue between Cravens and Warren halls (once the Trimble Hall site), features single- and double-occupant rooms, semiprivate bathrooms, and a fitness center, among other amenities.
The hall could eventually house more than 200 students.

Continuing the University’s commitment to green construction, the building employs cutting-edge solar technology to heat its water. An array of glass and metal tubing turns ultraviolet sunlight into heat for the building’s domestic water supply.

Rather than use old-school photovoltaic cells to turn visible light into electricity, the system uses large glass-metal vacuum tubes to generate heat directly from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which are powerful even on cloudy days. The process is said to be 98 percent efficient and can reduce energy costs by 40 percent in comparison to gas-fired hot water.

The system will heat showers, rest rooms, and laundry facilities and is expected to produce huge cost savings. UIndy is serving as a test site to help the vendor improve its technology and may be able to retrofit other buildings on campus with similar systems.

The residence hall is named for the Rev. John Taylor Roberts, the University’s first president (1905–08). A new parking lot at Hanna and Mathews avenues replaces parking spaces lost to the new residence hall project.

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