Quinnipiac University, a mid-sized school in Connecticut, has distinguished itself nationally for its highly respected political polls and successful sports teams, particularly men’s hockey and women’s basketball. Both Bobcats squads, along with the men’s basketball, women’s hockey, and the acrobatics and tumbling team, play in a unique building. Composed of dual hockey and basketball arenas, it’s one of only four twin sports structures in New England.
During the construction of this 185,000-square-foot sports complex, attention was paid to sustainability. At the TD Bank Sports Center unveiling in 2007, which changed to the People’s United Center from 2017–2022 and is now the M&T Bank Arena, then-president James Lahey proudly declared that all 615,000 tons of rock and dirt moved during the construction remained on site. The Hamden, CT-based university’s current mission to be a model of sustainability in Southern New England is reflected in several recent arena renovations.
The arena updated its water system from two energy-wasteful 600-gallon storage tanks to an Intellihot system consisting of two consolidated units that saved space and energy. The change coincided with its 15th anniversary in 2022.
“I’m very impressed by the design of these hot water heaters and their efficiency,” stated John Marquardt, a superintendent of mechanical services at Quinnipiac. “I believe that Intellihot represents the future of on-demand, zero-storage, high-efficiency water heating.”
This technologically advanced system can conserve up to 40% of the energy lost through typical water heating methods, which helps lower carbon emissions.
The original lights in M&T Bank Arena were also replaced in 2022 by LED lighting that cut the building’s yearly energy expenses by an estimated $65,000. Because of their longevity, LED lights deliver additional savings by reducing maintenance costs. The school covered over half the approximately $1.1 million bill for switching to LED by securing utility rebates.
The Athletic Department prioritized improving the drainage system for environmental and player safety when it redid the Soccer & Lacrosse Complex fields in 2022. Placed underneath the new synthetic turf was a “Versatile Pad” that ups the field’s drainage volume to more than 4,000 cubic feet of stormwater before it gets processed into the groundwater. The pad limits the chances of the field freezing, which is significant for a school located in New England.
Beyond the athletic fields, Quinnipiac has emphasized the importance of being environmentally responsible throughout its three campuses and academics. The school, for instance, recently introduced a trio of interdisciplinary environmental bachelor’s degree programs.
“The design of these three interdisciplinary majors addresses the need to bring deeper, informed understanding to what is unquestionably one of the most critical issues of our day, one that touches the life of every person, in every walk of life,” stated Mary Paddock, associate professor of modern languages and interdisciplinary studies and executive director of the university’s Collaborative for Interdisciplinary/Integrative Studies.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) honored the university in 2022 with a Bronze Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) rating, praising it in such areas as sustainable dining, campus and public engagement, and sustainability planning.
Quinnipiac set a goal of achieving a coveted Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) from the U.S. Green Building Council when it embarked on building a recreation and wellness center for students.
“Sustainability is part of well-being,” explained Tami Reilly, the school’s director of fitness and well-being. “This building — and it’s really much more than a building — will bring all of these holistic elements together.”
The facility was constructed with sustainable materials, including a green roof and rain gardens — it’s set to open in early 2023. Based on the school’s sustainability commitment, a Quinnipiac Poll would likely predict that the university will triumph in achieving a Gold LEED. Besides, that Gold certification would go nicely with the Gold LEED that the M&T Bank Stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens, already possesses.