Creating a Sustainable Future: The Nick

The Nick is going to be huge. 240,560 gross square feet to be exact. That’s about 50,000 more square feet more than the SERF was and includes more than three times the amount of usable fitness space. So yeah, it’s pretty huge.

While designing a building that will be such a large addition to campus and will serve thousands of students for generations to come, it was a priority to make the building as sustainable as possible. “In knowing that we wanted the Nick to be a facility that is efficient, effective, and lasts, sustainability was a cornerstone of the design discussions and decisions,” said Sadat Khan, Associate Director of Member Experience. From construction materials to lightbulbs and everything in between, here are some of the ways we implemented sustainable processes and features in the construction of the Nick: 

1. Construction and Demolition Materials

In the demolition of the SERF and the construction of the Nick, we diverted 41,000 tons of materials from landfills including asphalt, cardboard, concrete/masonry, drywall, metals, wood, and other miscellaneous materials. This makes up 99.12% of the overall tonnage of materials from the project. The Wisconsin State Standard for this practice is 75%. (Nailed it!) 

2. Long-Lasting Building

To ensure we would create a facility for generations of students to enjoy for years to come, we utilized a 50 year standard in constructability in the Nick’s design. This requires using a higher level of steel structure and building materials to stand up over 50 years. We also chose long-term flooring products that will last for the life of the facility. 

3. SageGlass  

When choosing windows for the Nick, we invested in SageGlass, an automated electrified glass system that automatically shades the building when sunlight is detected. By allowing natural light to enter the building through SageGlass, it prevents us from turning on lights during the day and controls building heat loss and gain, making air conditioning and heating much more efficient. Not to mention, it will also protect Active Badgers from annoying sunlight glares while shooting free throws or running laps. 

4. Stormwater Retention System

The Nick has a unique draining system that takes rainwater from the roof and brings it to the northern, southern, and eastern sides of the building where it can be used to water landscape beds. 

5. High-Efficiency Toilets and Shower Heads

Toilets may not be a typical topic of conversation for us but they were a hot topic in the Nick design. Inside the facility, we made use of high-efficiency toilets and shower heads in the bathrooms and locker rooms to help minimize the amount of water used. 

6. Water Bottle Filling Stations

Speaking of water, water bottle filling stations will be located throughout the facility. Visitors can bring reusable bottles and fill them up with filtered water to help reduce the number of single-use water bottles.

7. Laundry Services 

And speaking of single-use products, we invested in laundry services and reusable cloth towels for cleaning fitness equipment rather than using single-use towels. 

8. Digital Marketing 

The Nick will make use of digital displays throughout the facility to keep visitors in the know about what’s going on within Rec Well. With digital display marketing, we will be able to easily switch out and update information throughout the year without needing to reprint paper posters and other marketing materials.

9. Pool Filtration System

Regular pool filtration systems result in hundreds of thousands of gallons of water lost each month (ouch). To combat this, we chose a Defender filtration and chemical system for the pool. This system leads to far fewer backwash efforts needed, which can save up to 90% more water than a regular system (nice). 

10. LED Motion Lighting 

All activity spaces in the Nick are equipped with LED motion lighting which will ensure that lights get turned off and energy is saved when spaces are not in use. LED lighting is also significantly more efficient than other lighting options and will help lower the Nick’s energy consumption.