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SXU's environmentally friendly Rubloff Hall to be featured at April 5 lecture

Renaissance Academy's spring John T. Farrell Forum

Chicago (March 21, 2007) – Paul Matthews, assistant vice president for facilities management at Saint Xavier University, will discuss the environmentally friendly elements of Saint Xavier’s newest residence hall at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, April 5, in Saint Xavier University’s Butler Reception Room, 3700 W. 103rd St., Chicago.

The lecture, titled “Rubloff Hall: Sustainable Building Concepts,” is part of the Renaissance Academy’s Spring 2007 John T. Farrell Sr. Forum. It is free and open to the public.

“Rather than simply adding another residence hall to the Chicago campus using traditional design and building methods, Saint Xavier University seized the opportunity to create a high performance structure using the best practice standards available for ‘green’ technology,” Matthews said.  

Rubloff Hall, which opened in August 2006, is the first university residence hall built in the Chicago area using the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) “green building” approach. It is the first university residence hall in the state to apply for a gold certification under the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program. To receive the prestigious designation, the University had to demonstrate that a number of sustainable strategies that protect the Earth’s natural resources were incorporated in construction of the building. Rubloff Hall will be recognized on April 3 as a 2006 recipient of the Illinois Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Excellence in Engineering Award.

The energy-efficient 88-bed residence hall is a case study for sustainable design practices and construction for higher educational student housing, and another significant step toward Mayor Richard M. Daley’s vision to make Chicago the greenest city in America, Matthews said.

During the lecture, Matthews will take the audience on a virtual tour of Rubloff Hall using an educational Web site created specifically for the 37,000-square-foot residence hall, which can be viewed at http://greenbuilding.sxu.edu.

“Green building” projects incorporate water and energy efficiency, using recycled and rapidly renewable materials, and maximize the quality of the indoor environment. Rubloff Hall’s ventilation system improves indoor air quality and helps reduce the spread of germs; and a carbon dioxide detection system can tell if a room is occupied and adjusts airflow accordingly.

Rubloff Hall amenities include carpeting made of recycled plastics, a roof with 1,000 square feet of low-maintenance plants for heating and cooling retention, and toilets with two flush modes – one for liquids and one for solids. The building’s environmentally friendly design earned it a $90,400 grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation.

Saint Xavier’s newest residence hall is named after the late Arthur Rubloff, a Chicago business executive and University trustee, who named the University in his estate plan. A legendary figure in the world of commercial real estate, Rubloff is widely believed to have coined the phrase “the Magnificent Mile” to describe Chicago’s premier shopping destination, and developed the first indoor shopping mall – Evergreen Plaza, in nearby Evergreen Park.

The forum is named in honor of John T. Farrell Sr., a senior economic research analyst and deputy branch chief for the Central Intelligence Agency from 1952 to 1979. Farrell and his wife, Lucille, were facilitators at the Renaissance Academy, teaching a class called “Inside Washington” and a writing workshop. After his death in 1994, Lucille gave a contribution to fund the speaker’s bureau in his name.

For more information, please contact the Renaissance Academy at (773) 298-3149.


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News & World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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