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September 23, 2011

Building a Better Stadium: Gregory Allis ’12 Studies Sustainable Building for Sports Facilities

David Veshosky, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and Gregory Allis ’12

There’s nothing like a football game.  The clatter of helmets, the roar of the crowd—America’s favorite sport has a lot to love.  But some things, like the buzz of electric lights or the massive quantities of steel and concrete holding up those nosebleed seats, can wreak havoc on the environment.

That’s where Gregory Allis ’12 (Danvers, Mass.) comes in.  This summer, he traveled to California to investigate the Los Angeles Football Stadium, a project being constructed on the cutting edge of sustainability.  A civil engineering major, Allis is preparing to conduct a yearlong independent study, sponsored by the United States Green Building Council, in which he will use what he learned to delve further into the field of sustainable stadium design—and maybe make some changes to Lafayette’s facilities.  He will conduct the independent study with Ekrem Bermek ’12 (Boonton, N.J.) under the supervision of David Veshosky, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, and will present the results of the research at a national conference in November 2012.

The Los Angeles Football Stadium is set to be the first NFL stadium ever certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, an internationally recognized green building code.  The stadium will use solar technology to help power its buildings, reclaimed water for landscaping, and far less steel and concrete than other stadiums.  Everything from the topography of the land to the nearby traffic flow is being considered during the planning process.

Allis traveled to the stadium through funding from the College’s Academic Research Committee.  While on site, he met with consultants, architects, and developers to discuss their roles in the project and to explore the various ways they adapted green building techniques to such a large venue.

“With this information, as well as the brief study I conducted of 15 other sustainable stadiums worldwide, I plan to evaluate the sustainability of existing and future athletic facilities here at Lafayette,” says Allis.  “Our school has the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of green athletic facility design, a field that is booming internationally.”

His independent study is the latest in a series of projects aimed at greening Lafayette’s athletic facilities, starting with the Sustainable Solutions course in spring 2010, which produced a master plan for revamping Metzgar Fields.  The same class this spring expanded the master plan and worked on figuring out how to make the school’s stadiums energy neutral.

Veshosky has high expectations for Allis’ project.  “Greg’s a very good student, self-motivated and hard-working,” he says.  “We hope this project will generate knowledge that will help Lafayette and other academic institutions improve the sustainability of their athletic facilities.”

“The project has brought me closer in tune with the architectural side of engineering, which I find very interesting,” says Allis.  “It was great to speak with such influential and passionate professionals in California.”

Allis is not only the vice president of Lafayette’s chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers, he is also involved in the Green Building Council on campus.  When he’s not doing engineering, he’s a midfielder for the College’s Division I lacrosse team.

After graduation, Allis is considering going into such fields as finance, business, or consulting, but he doesn’t think he’ll ever stray too far from engineering.  “Engineering is not so much a passion, but a part of who I am,” he says.  “It’s how I work.”

posted in Academic News, Athletes Excelling Beyond the Field, Engineering, Have Cur Non Impact, News and Features, Students, Top News

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