A smarter, greener library

The University of New Brunswick in Saint John is now home to one of the most advanced and environmentally friendly buildings in Atlantic Canada.

The Hans W. Klohn Commons officially opened on Sept. 7. The innovative building features many amenities for students.

“We are very thrilled to be finished the construction of the Hans W. Klohn Commons at UNB Saint John,” said Robert MacKinnon, UNB vice-president (Saint John). “I am looking forward to having students use this advanced learning facility for their studies."

Construction on the commons began on April 1, 2010.  The $25-million project, which never strayed from its budget, has resulted in the first environmentally-friendly building on the UNB Saint John campus. 

Environmental state-of-the-art

The building is a silver-rated Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building.

“Environmentally, this building is state-of-the-art,” said Kingsley Bailey, senior project manager of the commons.  “It was very important to UNB Saint John that the new building be green.” 

The design of the building allows a great deal of natural light inside during the day so that lights do not have to be on all the time.  LED lighting is also installed. 

An electric elevator that produces power back into the building has been installed.  The elevator only requires power to get to the top of the building; when coming down, the elevator becomes a power generator for the commons. 

“Because UNB Saint John is a learning facility teaching the leaders of tomorrow, it is important to manage the energy consumption of the building,” said Sterling White, project director of the commons.  “It’s up to our generation to step to the forefront and be environmentally friendly to teach the next generation.”

Three hundred trees have been ordered by UNB Saint John to encourage natural habitat back into the project. 

 “By constructing an environmentally-friendly meeting place for students, we are educating them in how to protect and preserve the Earth, so it will be around for generations to come,” said Dr. MacKinnon. 

Enhancing student experience

The commons will be a premiere destination for students.  The university’s library system has been moved there, along with the Student Technology Centre, the Writing Centre, the Math and Science Help Centre, and the Commons Café.  Low voltage Apple computers will also be available for students to use. 

“Intended to transform the student experience at UNB Saint John, the commons provides a focal point for the interaction of students, staff, faculty, and community,” said Dr. MacKinnon.

The Hans W. Klohn Commons is the essential gathering place for students, offering them the latest in technology, writing and library services, as well as high-quality learning and research facilities.

“I plan to be at the commons more than any place else,” said Samantha Tinker, a third-year English and history student at UNB Saint John.  “It’s an absolutely beautiful building and I think it will be great to attract more students to come to UNB in Saint John.”  

Contributed by Alanah Duffy and Natalie Montgomery, UNB Communications & Marketing. This story made possible in part thanks to the support of the UNB Associated Alumni.