Hill Engineering Research and Development Center

The Hill Engineering Research and Development Center houses the KU EcoHawks, a student research program of the School of Engineering that focuses on developing innovative sustainable energy solutions for transportation and other areas of research. The 4,000-square-foot building was designed and built by KU architecture students in Studio 804, which is committed to the research and development of sustainable, affordable, and inventive buildings. In keeping with the mission of the KU EcoHawks, Studio 804’s architecture students packed the building with resource and energy conservation features. Most readily apparent to visitors will be its gleaming aluminum and glass facades. Metal from the facades was recycled from airplane manufacturing in Wichita, and the glass panels came from a Kansas City, Mo., building project that was never completed. Also in use are custom-made, motorized sunshades made of highly efficient Aerogel-filled insulating panels. The two-story high custom-designed installation is the first use of the high-tech, translucent material in the Lawrence area. The rigid, 1-inch thick shades, which are one-story tall, are installed on the interior side, the glass on the south, east, and west facades. On cloudy days, in cold weather the panels glide down over the glass to hold heat in the building while admitting 30 percent of the light outside the building. Low-VOC paints and sealants eliminate the air-borne toxins that often give new buildings an unpleasant odor. Showers are provided to encourage people to ride their bikes to work. Photovoltaic panels can be seen protecting the building’s entry canopy, and there is a large array of panels on the roof. If more electricity is created than the building can use, it will be fed into power lines and credited to KU through net metering. For examples of research that can be accomplished at this Center, please visit the KU EcoHawks Current and Past Projects webpage.

The Hill Engineering Research and Development Center was selected by Architect Magazine as one of the very best projects of 2013.

Representative paper: Design and Analysis of Electric Bikes for Local Commutes - doi: 10.1115/IMECE2015-52135

A view from outside of the Hill Center

Illustration of students working on the Beetle within the Hill Center

Different view of the students working on our plug-in series hybrid electric vehicle

Workstations for the students to work on homework or research components needed for their projects