Hitting the Target - NAU International Pavilion

Hitting the Target - NAU International Pavilion

Northern Arizona University’s International Pavilion is a 10,000-square-foot building in Flagstaff, Arizona that serves as a gathering and learning space for the University’s international student population and as a demonstration of sustainable design and energy conservation. The project’s design team had the intent of creating a high performing facility from the conceptual design phase. Achieving the objectives is attributed to the ongoing collaboration of Northern Arizona University, RSP Architects and Energy Systems Design.

Building and System Design Objectives


  • LEED® Platinum Certification
  • NetZero
  • No air conditioning
  • Demonstration of sustainable design and energy conservation


Hitting the target on the final system designs are the result of engineering, evaluations, and developing system design alternatives and presentations to NAU building “Users” and other campus personnel. ESD evaluated historical climatological data as well as required temperature and relative humidity conditions for occupant comfort. In collaboration with RSP Architects, the building height and other features were evaluated to achieve the desired objectives for environmental control. The mechanical, plumbing, and electrical systems designs were developed with the goal of achieving the maximum LEED® credit points. Since the building has been operation for 12 months, we are able to gain access to the internet based monitoring and metering system to ascertain the actual energy usage as compared to the baseline and projected amounts.

Design Features


The mechanical design is very complimentary to the surrounding environment as well as the interior comfort conditions. There is an air handling unit that provides evaporative cooling to the administrative areas and potentially other areas. The system also includes outdoor ventilation to all building areas during the heating season. Environmental control of all other building areas is achieved by natural ventilation, which is supplemented by large, roof-suspended, multiple speed air circulation fans. The rotation of the air circulation fans can be reversed to provide a building “purge” ventilation mode, during cooler nighttime hours. Building heating is provided by an in-floor hot water radiant heating system with a hot water coil in the air handling unit. This system has nine thermostatically controlled zones with in-slab temperature sensors to prevent slab overheating. Multiple CO2 sensors are provided to control the air handling unit outdoor air ventilation flow rate, relative to actual building occupancy. A building Energy Management system automatically controls all system functions, and is integrated with the Campus Facility Management System.


Plumbing systems incorporate water and energy saving features including: low consumption toilets, ultra-low consumption urinals, self-powered, .09 Gallons per cycle, lavatory faucets and an ultra-high efficiency gas water heater for domestic hot water. Water fountains with bottle filler features were installed to discourage disposal of single-use of water containers, as sustainability is of the utmost importance for all aspects of the facility.


Electrical systems designs included: Occupancy sensing and daylight harvesting lighting controls and high efficiency LED lighting fixtures. In addition, there is a 35kW solar panel array to generate energy on-site.