"We need to inspire students. I was impacted through the moon launches – the challenge of the unknown. If we are going to succeed as a nation, we have to be inspired."
– Dr. Hank Voss, Physics and Engineering professor
The new Euler Science Complex is not only going to provide inspiration, discovery and research for students once it is completed, it has already been a "living laboratory" for faculty, students and staff as they have provided data, statistics and tools to help with the design and development of certain features of the building:
Heliostat Atrium – A four-story circular atrium hosts a heliostat that directs natural light throughout the center of the building. The heliostat is comprised of a 12-foot diameter mirror and drive system. The drive system aligns the circular mirror to track with the sun, reflecting this natural light into the building, down the stair column to the ground level floor, where it illuminates a glass mosaic. Engineering Physics student Lauren Vriezema ’10, in partnership with Taylor faculty members, developed a prototype that demonstrated how the sunlight can be tracked and directed as desired.
- Atrium Eyelids – The building was designed to permit the installation of an eyelid system in the future. The atrium eyelid system controls the amount of sunlight through a window for lighting and energy control via a mirrored "eyelid." The prototype was designed and built for the 2009 Engineering Physics Capstone course. A provisional patent is being pursued.
Geothermal Heating and Cooling – Six wells access the aquifer beneath the campus in order to provide up to 600 gallons per minute of 55 degree Fahrenheit water for heating and cooling of the Complex year-round. To avoid thermal pollution of the surrounding water and land, the outflow of water from these systems is quickly brought to ambient temperature using architectural features.
Wind Turbines – Wind power provides approximately 18% of the Complex's energy needs, which is particularly significant given the energy intensive nature of science buildings. Students, faculty and staff installed anemometers at three elevations up to 140 ft on the Upland True Value Hardware tower. Data has been gathered for over a year and is being used to help verify the specifications of the Euler Complex wind turbines. Environmental Science masters student Serozhah Milashuk '08 used this data for his master's thesis showing how local data can be used with data from airports to predict long term wind resources.
Solar Panels – These panels provide approximately 1% of the total energy needs of the Complex. A percentage of this power is also diverted to the engineering laboratory on the second floor for experimentation and research by students.
Classrooms – The classrooms and labs have been thoughtfully put together to provide ample space for equipment, research, innovation, growth and best practice in pedagogically appropriate teaching and technology.
- No fixed seating – Flexible teaching methods and extensive group work are key to innovative research and discovery.
- Electronic Data Presentation – Faculty have access to the latest in technology, including data transmission capacity, to accommodate various teaching methods and research
- Space for key equipment– Due to space constraints, Taylor University was not previously able to use some of its equipment. For example, a cell culture hood (used for experiments in cell and molecular biology) once sat unused in a hallway of Nussbaum. Now the Euler Science Complex easily houses this and other current and new equipment that helps students apply what they are learning in various programs.
Rooftop Teaching and Research Laboratory – A large portion of the flat roof of the Complex is utilized for education and research:
- Special tiles - Students and faculty can walk on these special roof tiles that consist largely of recycled tires, without damaging them, providing access to discovery for students in fields including astronomy, physics, biology and space science.
- Green Roof – Large, reconfigurable trays will hold plants like sedum, nodding onion, hen and chicks and ornamental chive. These plants help absorb sunlight during the summer and insulate the building during the winter, lowering heating and cooling costs, and providing teaching and learning opportunities.
Systems Monitoring Room – Real-time critical information about the building, its systems and environment is available to students, faculty, K-12 students and other visitors though a live display interface. The data is stored over time and is used to research sustainability and renewable energy, and will also be accessible via the Internet. Information collected includes:
- Energy provided by the solar cells
- Energy provided by the wind turbines
- Energy use by the building, zone-by-zone
- Energy use as a function of time
- Geothermal water use and temperatures
- Potable water use
- Turnover of air in the building, and building CO2 levels
- Wind speed and direction