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Ithaca College Tower Serves as Natural Air Exchanger

Paul Steinbach
(Photo by James West/JWest Productions LLC)
(Photo by James West/JWest Productions LLC)

Opened in the fall of 2011, the Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center combines an iconic campus presence with an innovative sustainability strategy in one monumental design element.

Architecture firm Moody•Nolan of Columbus, Ohio, met the challenge of providing adequate air circulation within a large volume by incorporating an iconic tower that "breathes" — exchanging air without mechanical assistance during periods of temperate weather. Fresher, cleaner air is introduced to the tower through louvers located 75 feet above street level. That air sinks through one of two large flues within the tower and is spread to the facility's interior perimeter along an overhead air shelf. At the same time, warmer interior air is exhausted through an opening in the shelf, up a second flue and out the full 160-foot length of the mostly transparent chimney tower. Functional in this fashion roughly half the year, the tower was designed to save 12 percent of the facility's annual energy costs.

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