Dana Building

440 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI
Interim Dean: Daniel G. Brown
Size: 107,803 ft
Gold LEED certified

Samuel T. Dana BuildingThe University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment is located in the Samuel T. Dana Building on the northeast corner of the Diag on central campus. Prior to SNRE's residence in the building, it was used for nearly 60 years as a medical training facility. In 1961, the West Medical Building was renamed in honor of SNRE's first dean, Samuel Trask Dana, and SNRE - then the School of Natural Resources - moved in.

Built in 1903, the Dana Building underwent a major renovation from 1998 to 2004. Its 100-year-old infrastructure was upgraded and both classroom and office spaces were added. All facets of the renovation were performed with a sharp eye toward environmental responsibility. This $25 million “Greening of Dana” project, as it was called, added about 20 percent more usable space through infill and raising the roofline to add an additional floor. The renovation demonstrated state-of-the-art, environmentally conscious design and material use, making the building the greenest academic building in the State of Michigan at that time. In 2004, the Dana renovations earned a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold rating from the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming one of the first academic renovations in the country to receive such a high rating. The result of this major renovation is a building where environmental principles are not only taught, but also upheld and put into practice.

Contributing to the LEED Gold rating were water conservation initiatives, including low-flow plumbing fixtures, composting toilets, and waterless urinals; and energy reduction achieved through insulation, installation of high-efficiency lighting, and a ceiling-mounted radiant cooling system. The renovation also entailed the widespread use of renewable materials (e.g., floors made of cork, bamboo, or all-natural linoleum; wool carpeting; countertops made from wheat straw, sunflower seed hulls, and waste newspaper; acoustical tiles made from fast-growing tree species). Recycled materials included glass tiles in the bathrooms and soft rubber made from recycled tires in stairwells. In addition, great effort was made to reuse materials in the original building, including the 100-year-old yellow pine attic timbers, bricks and pavers, and doors. In all, more than 3,000 pounds of material were diverted from the landfill. Both active and passive solar systems were added to the building through the use of photovoltaic panels affixed to the roof and the 4,000-square-foot skylight that provides daylight in the Ford Commons and keeps the building cool during the summer months.

Please feel welcome to stop in for a self-guided tour [PDF] so that you can see the wonderful results of this green renovation.

In addition to classrooms and offices, the Dana Building contains several special student spaces. A Campus Computing Site is on the second floor with 26 general-use computer stations. A student commons occupies the main floor covered courtyard. The commons is a favorite place for students to study and hang out between classes. Other academic facilities include several state-of-the-art laboratories and three landscape architecture studios. The Dana Building also supports the Program in the Environment, an undergraduate interdisciplinary partnership with the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

Several environmental research centers are based in the Dana Building. The Center for Sustainable Systems weds engineering and environmental analysis to improve industrial processes for societal needs. The Environmental Justice program addresses inequities arising from environmental, social and political decision making. The Ecosystem Management Initiative promotes sustainable natural resource management through research and outreach. The Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise studies the environmental intersection of business, government, and nonprofit organizations and collaborates with students in the dual-degree MS/MBA program.